Q:

Can we predict earthquakes?

A:

Quick Answer

Scientists can make predictions about earthquake probability, but there is no reliable way to foresee any given earthquake. Some people have claimed that they can predict earthquakes, but their claims do not withstand scientific scrutiny.

Know More
Can we predict earthquakes?
Credit: United Nations Development Programme Flickr CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

In areas along large fault lines, where earthquakes occur more frequently, scientists can estimate the average length of time between major earthquakes. On the San Andreas fault, for example, there is usually a large-scale earthquake every 100 years. Many scientists subscribe to the theory that the next earthquake is likely to happen when the strain released by the previous earthquake is re-established.

Short-term earthquake prediction is much more difficult to accomplish. There are some precursors to warn the community, but it is difficult to observe them and to determine if the precursors actually cause earthquakes.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What is the surface directly above where an earthquake starts called?

    A:

    The surface directly above where an earthquake starts is called the epicenter, according to the United States Geological Survey. The location of the earthquake's origin is the fault or fault plane, and that is the place where two pieces of Earth move past each other, causing the ground to shake.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where should you hide during an earthquake?

    A:

    The best place to take shelter during an earthquake is underneath a sturdy desk or table, preferably one that covers the entire body. If this option is not available, protecting the head and neck is the most important safety concern. Do not stand in a doorway, as that advice is outdated and unsafe.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What happens during an earthquake?

    A:

    Earthquakes are caused by sudden movement in opposing tectonic plates in the earth. As plates move against each other, sometimes the rocky edges catch against one another. The rest of the plate remains in motion, putting stress on the sticking point, and when it gives way, an earthquake occurs.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between earthquake and aftershock?

    A:

    According to the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), the difference between an earthquake, also known as the mainshock, and an aftershock is that an aftershock follows closely in the wake of a larger earthquake and in approximately the same area as that earthquake. Earthquakes are usually more powerful and longer lasting than aftershocks. An aftershock will not occur unless there is a mainshock that occurs first.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore