Bleeding Edge

by Brett

Earthquake Forecasts Getting Better?

from the we-hope-it's-true dept

Predicting earthquakes has never been what you would call an exact science, so claims of newfound accuracy in this area simultaneously fill us with hope and doubt. Last year some researchers said they'd developed a method that could predict when and where a quake would hit within a nine-month range. The results have been inconclusive: It apparently worked with two major quakes, but failed a third time. Now the U.S. Geological Survey is getting into the act, giving Californians probability forecasts through the USGS website for 24-hour periods. The goal, they say, is not to predict earthquakes as much as warn people of the probability. It will be interesting again to see how well these statistics bear out in reality (this system appears different than the one discussed last year). Still, it's hard to imagine people checking the USGS site all the time for their local earthquake forecasts, let alone knowing what to do with the various warning levels (terror alerts, anyone?). Ironically, the system might be more valuable after an initial quake, when people can log on and find out the potential for aftershocks. Even better, the USGS could improve the dissemination of forecasts with automated notifications, maybe via email or text message. After that, the only thing missing would be a Google Maps hack.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    secret squirrel, May 18th, 2005 @ 6:16pm

    if there ever was a site that needed an RSS feed

    This is it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    copyright me, May 18th, 2005 @ 11:51pm

    Waste of time

    Say there was a 50% chance Los Angeles will be vapourised in the next 20 years. Would anyone leave? No. People are optimistic to the point of absurdity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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