2008 Office of Science Outreach | Stanford University Why is Earthquake Prediction so Difficult?
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Lectures & Public Events

Why is Earthquake Prediction so Difficult?

with Gregory C. Beroza
July 10, 2008 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Why is Earthquake Prediction so Difficult?
Contact Kaye Storm

Earthquakes can be extreme catastrophes. Rapid urbanization of earthquake-prone regions means that a future earthquake with a million fatalities is a distinct possibility. By some estimates, the next large earthquake under Tokyo could cause trillions of dollars in direct economic losses, which would have global financial consequences.

The consequences of earthquakes might be mitigated if earthquakes could be predicted; however, to date, earthquake prediction has proven elusive. The nature of earthquakes makes them uniquely terrifying. The combination of unpredictability, abrupt onset, rarity, and unfamiliarity means that the risk posed by earthquakes is difficult to manage. It is natural for people and governments to focus on the many other immediate, and more readily predictable, problems that demand our attention.

Professor Beroza will discuss what makes earthquake prediction an intrinsically difficult problem. He will also cover aspects of the earthquake process that we can predict, and what the prospects are for future progress.

GREGORY C. BEROZA, Professor of Geophysics in the School of Earth Sciences and Deputy Director of the Southern California Earthquake Center.

Lecture is held at 7pm on the lawn adjacent to Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center. Come early and wander through the Cantor, have dinner at the Art Center’s Cool Café, or bring your own picnic.