Is it possible to do?Are earthquake predictions possible? Find out about how or if earthquakes can be predicted and the fundamentals experts use to do so.
Ever since I was young, I have worried if it were possible to predict earthquakes. I remember watching news coverage in school of the Northridge Earthquake in 1994 and wondering if it was possible to prevent the casualties of the quake. I thought if we could predict when tornadoes or hurricanes were likely to occur, why not earthquakes? Well as you may or may not know, the science of predicting the weather and the science of predicting when the earth will start moving are two completely different things.
The atmosphere is something that we can see visibly everyday and weather patterns are usually easy to predict in advance (even based on previous weather patterns). Forecasters can use weather instruments to look at conditions in the atmosphere and tell when storms will form. Then there's also the common sense factor. If you are out and about, and you see dark clouds rolling your way, you can have ample time to get out of the way.
However, earthquakes are a completely different animal. They seem to be very random and not based on any patterns at all. There is no way to measure "conditions" for an imminent earthquake. However, many people do believe that animals scattering a certain area, or flashing lights on the horizon often happen before a big earthquake strikes. But scientists cannot base their earthquake predictions on these things, and are constantly testing and trying new things to predict earthquakes. So how are scientists and geologists going about trying to predict earthquakes?
One popular method involves using past earthquake history to predict future big quakes. But these types of earthquake predictions can be flawed as some areas are more random when it comes to earthquakes than others. Another way scientists have been trying to predict quakes has been to look at the stress or tension that builds up on the tectonic plates that cause earthquakes. The theory is that if you can detect increased tension, you can predict that it will be released soon with a major earthquake.
All these methods are not foolproof, and most people are starting to believe it's impossible to predict earthquakes. Some other things that people may use to predict a coming quake may be animal behavior, solar flares hitting the earth at certain places, and the tides of the ocean (or even how close the moon comes to the earth during certain periods). Then of course you will always find random people on the internet who claim they can predict earthquakes based on psychic ability or by religious means. However notice that rarely is there a date given, and even if there is, it's after the fact, or it never comes true. If they could predict earthquakes accurately, they would be some of the richest people in the world and would be saving millions of lives! People have also claimed that when their ears are ringing, that an earthquake is on the way.
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