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|Exactly. We all wish there might have been a way to predict an event such as this one but right now no reliable way exists.
Originally posted by jl2315 at 2008-5-13 07:52 PM
From Popular Mechanics, 13 May 2008
"Earthquake prediction is one of the holy grails of science," [Kaye] Shedlock [who worked with China when she headed the USGS's hazard and risk program] says. "The Chinese worked much harder at this than us, and appeared to have early successes. Then another earthquake happened that didn't behave like the previous one." In the course of evaluating and authorizing earthquake research, the USGS has spent decades following attempts to predict quakes. "The research being done spans the spectrum—from serious, scholarly, scientific research, to pure speculation," says Blanpied. For example, when geologists have created small earthquakes in the lab, they've noticed an acceleration of the sliding along the fault, just before the quake hits. But every attempt to detect this acceleration has failed to produce solid predictive data. Despite a long-running experiment in Parkfield, Calif., which included highly sensitive instrumentation, the only evidence of the magnitude 6 earthquake that finally hit in 2004 was the earthquake itself.