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Earth Science

Scientists Predict Earthquake's Location and Strength 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the shaking-up-the-seismology-community dept.
A new study has been published in Nature Geoscience (abstract) detailing how scientists correctly anticipated the location and strength of an earthquake earlier this year. On September 5th, a 7.6 earthquake rocked Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula. That region had seen earthquakes of (roughly) magnitude 7 in 1853, 1900, and 1950, so "geoscientists had forecast that a magnitude 7.7 to 7.8 quake should occur around the year 2000, plus or minus 20 years." "The Nicoya Peninsula is prone to earthquakes because it's an area of subduction, where the Cocos Plate is pushing underneath the Caribbean Plate, moving at a rate of about 8.5 centimeters per year. When regions such as this suddenly slip, they produce a megathrust earthquake. Most of the world's largest earthquakes — including the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki quake in Japan in 2011 and the magnitude 9.15 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake in 2004, both of which produced devastating tsunamis — fall into this category. .. The close study of this region allowed scientists to calculate how much strain was building in the fault and in May 2012 they published a study in which they identified two locked spots capable of producing an earthquake similar to the one in 1950. In September of that year, the landward patch ruptured and produced the earthquake. The offshore one is still locked and capable of producing a substantial but smaller earthquake, an aftershock with a magnitude as high as 6.9, the researchers say."
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Scientists Predict Earthquake's Location and Strength

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  • Plus or Minus 20? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @03:18PM (#45777285)

    Great, so live in a tent in your back yard for your entire adult life then?

    With a window like that, any fool can "correctly predict" just about anything.
    Beware the stock market crash of 2034, plus or minus 20 years. Don't say you haven't been warned.

    I predict hoots of derision heaped upon this story.

  • by geekoid (135745) <> on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @04:57PM (#45778037) Homepage Journal

    I forecast hoots of derision heaped upon you for not reading the article and assuming the write up on /. was even close to accurate.

  • Useless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gaspyy (514539) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @05:08PM (#45778111)

    This is beyond useless.

    I live in a country with significant seismic activity.
    We know for hundreds of years that every 30 to 50 years a big (7.6 - 7.8) earthquake will happen. We even know where the epicenter will be. We know how it will propagate.

    It's been 36 years since the last one so many people who live in problem areas are beginning to get nervous. But we don't know when it will happen. Could be tomorrow or ten years from now.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison