Q:

Can we predict earthquakes?

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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.

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Can we predict earthquakes?
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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.

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Related Questions

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    What is the epicenter of an earthquake ?

    A:

    The epicenter of an earthquake is the point on the surface of the Earth directly above the point in the crust where a seismic rupture occurs. This origin point within the crust is called the hypocenter or focus.

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    How do you know if there was just an earthquake?

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    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.

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