by Lev GOLUBCHIKOV, Cand. Sc. (Phys. & Math.), Coordination Center "Controlled Fusion-International Projects", Russian Research Center "Kurchatov Institute", Moscow; Nikolai RYKHLINSKY, Cand. Sc. (Phys. & Math.), Institute of Innovative Methods of Geophysics, Moscow
By statistics over half of the human casualties and destructions due to natural causes result from earthquakes. Certainly an early warning about an earthquake's time and location can help save many lives. For decades geophysicists the world over have been searching for ways of predicting this natural calamity. Unfortunately their efforts have not been successful yet, and this has led to the shrinking federal funding of their research. However, this all-important problem as well as any new related ideas and practical results ought to command closer attention.
Articles in this rubric reflect the author's opinion. - Ed.
Lithospheric plates and blocks of the earth crust.
Iccording to Prof. R. Geller of Tokyo University, Ian earthquake prediction should involve the like-ly timing of a quake of magnitude (M)>7 about three days prior to its occurrence in a radius of 50 km from the epicenter (which is a projection of the earthquake center proper, the hypocenter, on the terrestrial surface). Yet after many abortive attempts at such predictions, at the close of the 12th century, geophysicists resorted to a less obliging term, "forecast". Forecasting can be long-term (for dozens and hundreds of years), intermediate-term (from several months up to several years), and short-term (for several days only).
In 1996 the British Royal Astronomical Society and the International Incorporated Association of Geophysics held a meeting on the "Assessment of Projects on Forecasting Earthquakes". Most of the delegates agreed in their skeptical attitude toward attempts at such forecasting because of the chaotic nature of processes occurring in the earthq ... Read more