Shaky Forecasts

Despite past failures, geophysicists think earthquake prediction might yet be possible

By Kristina Bartlett Brody, 11:47 AM August 13, 2009

Jeff McGuire says he does not want to be known as the guy who predicts earthquakes. But in September 2008, a magnitude 6.0 quake shook the bottom of the ocean at a fault along the East Pacific Rise — within 10 kilometers from where and within the year-and-a-half window that McGuire and his colleagues had predicted.

It is in fact possible to predict a large quake on a short timescale, says McGuire, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution — when the geology is relatively simple, as on a tran...

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