Several large earthquakes struck Japans central island of Honshu over Labor
Day weekend. Had these events occurred on the other side of the Pacific Ring
of Fire, they would have fulfilled a forecast by a team of seismologists
that a large temblor would strike before Sept. 5 in Southern California.
Vladimir Keilis-Borok and his co-workers have been developing models for the past
30 years that they hope will eventually predict earthquakes with some assurance
(see Geotimes, March 2004). As part of their testing, the modelers have
published and announced forecasts, including one made last January, forecasting
a magnitude-6.4 earthquake or greater in the southeastern portion of the Mojave
Desert and to the south, by Sept. 5.
Keilis-Borok and colleagues have claimed several successes in the past year, from
the San Simeon earthquake in Paso Robles, Calif., last December to a magnitude-8.1
earthquake that struck Hokkaido, Japan, last year on Sept. 25 (the Japanese government
also claimed success in forecasting that earthquake).
We will learn from our mistakes how to improve the prediction methodology,
Keilis-Borok said in a statement released by the University of California at Los
Angeles, where the team conducts its work. If we made no mistakes, it would
mean the problem is easy; and it is not easy, to put it mildly.
For the full story, visit the Geotimes
Web Extra archive online or go straight to the Sept. 7 Web
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