The Public and the Quake That Wasn't

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Science  09 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5387, pp. 247
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5387.247

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Earthquake Fears, Predictions, and Preparations in Mid-America. John E. Farley. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, IL, 1998. 216 pp. $50. ISBN 0-8093-2177-7. Paper, $21.95. ISBN 0-8093-2201-3.

Farley, a sociologist, explores public reaction to Iben Browning's pseudoscientific prediction of a major earthquake on the New Madrid fault zone in December 1990. Using data gathered before and after the "pseudodisaster," he examines the public's planned and actual responses to an earthquake prediction and the reasons why Browning was believed despite the careful analyses offered by seismologists, dismissing his claims.