Perspective

Earthquakes Cannot Be Predicted

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Science  14 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5306, pp. 1616
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5306.1616

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  • Can Earthquake Be Reliably Predicted by Abnormal Phenomena (Anomalous Animal Behaviors)?
    • Qunying Huang, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI, USA
    • Other Contributors:
      • Kai Cao, Lecturer, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, Singapore

    While the predication of earthquake is always a hot topic that has drawn wide attention from the academia, government, media and public, little progress has been made in the past. Some scientists even argued that the earthquake cannot be predicted reliably (Geller, Jackson et al. 1997, Geller 2011). We somewhat agree with these scientists, based on the existing studies and mankind’s knowledge so far, earthquake cannot or haven’t be reliably predicted. However, inspired by the successful earthquake prediction in Haicheng, China in 1975 (Tong 1988), and with the emerging of state-of-the-art information and computing technologies and methods, such as Geographic Information System (GIS), web 2.0 technology, Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), and high performance/cloud computing resources, we would argue that earthquakes will and can be reasonably (or even reliably and effectively) predicted in the future.

    In our recent study, a framework is proposed to collect and synthesize citizen’s witness (crowdsourcing data) of anomalous animal behaviors for earthquake prediction (Figure 1). Within the framework, crowdsourcing data from both active (e.g., mobile app) and passive sources (e.g., social networks), are employed. A prototype is then implemented to collect, visualize and mine crowdsourcing data to detect a potential earthquake. This study leverages ‘citizen-as-sensors’ to locate anomalous animal behaviors, which prove to be reliable signals for a potential earthq...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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