PREDICTING EARTHQUAKES - A SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL EVALUATION - WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY

A brief resume is presented at the scientific bases for earthquake prediction, the current state-of-the-art is summarized, the outlook for the future is assessed, and recommendations are made for immediate action in certain areas. Statistical and geophysical methods are reviewed, observational capabilities in the U.S., laboratory studies, modeling for earthquake phenomena, and associated problems and deficiences are discussed and comments are made on social implications. The panel was of the opinion that the physical nature of precursory earthquake phenomena are complex, and current models to explain them are crude. Of about 10 types of recognizable precursory phenomena, some may be due to causes other than earthquakes and yield false alarms. Successful routine prediction will probably require the use of several techniques. At present, the ability to detect and locate an impending earthquake requires a dense distribution of instruments in the quake area. Improved observational networks are mandatory for the acquisition of fundamental knowledge on which to build an effective earthquake-prediction program. Predictions by responsible scientists should be accompanied by backup data for full evaluation by the scientific community. The scientific prediction systems have developed to the point which requires the development of the associated societal response. The upgrading of earthquake-engineering design and construction are considered complementary to the prediction program.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Prepared by the Panel on Earthquake Prediction of the Committee on Seismology and the Assembly of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. National Research Council.
  • Corporate Authors:

    National Research Council

    2101 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC  USA  20418
  • Publication Date: 1976-7

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 62 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00142187
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 15 1976 12:00AM