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Seismic Crystal Ball Proving Mostly Cloudy Around the World

Science  20 May 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6032, pp. 912-913
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6032.912

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Summary

When a devastating megaquake rocked the region north of Tokyo in March, nobody saw such a huge quake coming. In China, New Zealand, and California as well, recent earthquakes have underscored scientists' problems forecasting the future. A surprisingly big quake arrives where smaller ones were expected, as in Japan; an unseen fault breaks far from obviously dangerous faults, as in New Zealand. And, most disconcerting, after more than 2 decades of official forecasting, geoscientists still don't know how much confidence to place in their own warnings. But improvements are in the works.