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:

    How do you prepare for an earthquake?

    A:

    To prepare for an earthquake, prepare your house by placing objects to minimize falling damage. Draft an emergency plan, and practice earthquake drills. During an earthquake, drop to your hands and knees, cover your head and neck, and hold on.

    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:
  • Q:

    When was the first earthquake?

    A:

    The first earthquake to ever take place is unknown as it happened before the records of the events were kept. The first recorded earthquake was in 1769.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does an earthquake occur?

    A:

    Earthquakes occur due to the movement of tectonic plates in the Earth's crust. Plates constantly shift and move, building energy. The release of that energy is an earthquake.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore