January 11, 2004
UCLA Team Claims It Can Predict Earthquakes

A UCLA team claims it can predict earthquakes months in advance falling within a several month period.

Earthquakes can be predicted months in advance

Major earthquakes can be predicted months in advance, argues UCLA seismologist and mathematical geophysicist Vladimir Keilis-Borok.

"Earthquake prediction is called the Holy Grail of earthquake science, and has been considered impossible by many scientists," said Keilis-Borok, a professor in residence in UCLA's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics and department of earth and space sciences. "It is not impossible."

"We have made a major breakthrough, discovering the possibility of making predictions months ahead of time, instead of years, as in previously known methods," Keilis-Borok said. "This discovery was not generated by an instant inspiration, but culminates 20 years of multinational, interdisciplinary collaboration by a team of scientists from Russia, the United States, Western Europe, Japan and Canada."

The team includes experts in pattern recognition, geodynamics, seismology, chaos theory, statistical physics and public safety. They have developed algorithms to detect precursory earthquake patterns.

In June of 2003, this team predicted an earthquake of magnitude 6.4 or higher would strike within nine months in a 310-mile region of Central California whose southern part includes San Simeon, where a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck on Dec. 22.

In July of 2003, the team predicted an earthquake in Japan of magnitude 7 or higher by Dec. 28, 2003, in a region that includes Hokkaido. A magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck Hokkaido on Sept. 25, 2003.

Previously, the team made "intermediate-term" predictions, years in advance. The 1994 Northridge earthquake struck 21 days after an 18-month period when the team predicted that an earthquake of magnitude 6.6 or more would strike within 120 miles from the epicenter of the 1992 Landers earthquake an area that includes Northridge. The magnitude 6.8 Northridge earthquake caused some $30 billion in damage. The 1989 magnitude 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake fulfilled a five-year forecast the team issued in 1986.

Keilis-Borok's team now predicts an earthquake of at least magnitude 6.4 by Sept. 5, 2004, in a region that includes the southeastern portion of the Mojave Desert, and an area south of it.

If this technique continues to return correct answers how will Los Angeles or Bay Area residents respond if they are eventually told that a really big quake is coming their way?

Kellis-Borok apparently took on earthquake prediction to give him something worthwhile to do in his old age. Incredible.

Still, not all seismologists are convinced. "Application of nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory is often counter-intuitive," Keilis-Borok said, "so acceptance by some research teams will take time. Other teams, however, accepted it easily."

Keilis-Borok, 82, has been working on earthquake prediction for more than 20 years. A mathematical geophysicist, he was the leading seismologist in Russia for decades, said his UCLA colleague John Vidale, who calls Keilis-Borok the world's leading scientist in the art of earthquake prediction. Keilis-Borok is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the European, Austrian and Pontifical academies of science. He founded Moscow's International Institute of Earthquake Prediction Theory and Mathematical Geophysics, and joined UCLA's faculty in 1999.

His research team has started experiments in advance prediction of destructive earthquakes in Southern California, Central California, Japan, Israel and neighboring countries, and plans to expand prediction to other regions.

Parenthetically, this report demonstrates the potential of life extension. Kellis-Borok's mind is probably aging more slowly than the average mind. Imagine what top scientists would accomplish if the aging of their minds could be delayed or avoided.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2004 January 11 09:46 AM  Dangers Natural General

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