Predicting the Unpredictable: The Tumultuous Science of Earthquake Prediction
  • Predicting the Unpredictable: The Tumultuous Science of Earthquake Prediction
  • Predicting the Unpredictable: The Tumultuous Science of Earthquake Prediction

Predicting the Unpredictable: The Tumultuous Science of Earthquake Prediction

by Susan Hough
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691138168

ISBN-13: 9780691138169

Pub. Date: 11/16/2009

Publisher: Princeton University Press

An earthquake can strike without warning and wreak horrific destruction and death, whether it's the cataclysmic 2008 Sichuan quake in China that killed tens of thousands or a future great earthquake on the San Andreas Fault in California, which scientists know is inevitable. Yet despite rapid advances in earthquake science, seismologists still can't predict when

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Overview

An earthquake can strike without warning and wreak horrific destruction and death, whether it's the cataclysmic 2008 Sichuan quake in China that killed tens of thousands or a future great earthquake on the San Andreas Fault in California, which scientists know is inevitable. Yet despite rapid advances in earthquake science, seismologists still can't predict when the Big One will hit. Predicting the Unpredictable is the first book to explain why, exploring the fact and fiction behind the science--and pseudoscience--of earthquake prediction.

Susan Hough traces the continuing quest by seismologists to forecast the time, location, and magnitude of future quakes--a quest fraught with controversies, spectacular failures, and occasional apparent successes. She brings readers into the laboratory and out into the field with the pioneers who have sought to develop reliable methods based on observable phenomena such as small earthquake patterns and electromagnetic signals. Hough describes attempts that have raised hopes only to collapse under scrutiny, as well as approaches that seem to hold future promise. She recounts stories of strange occurrences preceding massive quakes, such as changes in well water levels and mysterious ground fogs. She also ventures to the fringes of pseudoscience to consider ideas outside the scientific mainstream, from the enduring belief that animals can sense impending earthquakes to amateur YouTube videos purporting to show earthquake lights prior to large quakes.

This book is an entertaining and accessible foray into the world of earthquake prediction, one that illuminates the unique challenges of predicting the unpredictable.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691138169
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
11/16/2009
Pages:
260
Sales rank:
896,181
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Ready to Rumble 1

Chapter 2: Ready to Explode 12

Chapter 3: Irregular Clocks 29

Chapter 4: The Hayward Fault 39

Chapter 5: Predicting the Unpredictable 47

Chapter 6: The Road to Haicheng 58

Chapter 7: Percolation 86

Chapter 8: The Heyday 96

Chapter 9: The Hangover 108

Chapter 10: Highly Charged Debates 125

Chapter 11: Reading the Tea Leaves 141

Chapter 12: Accelerating Moment Release 150

Chapter 13: On the Fringe 158

Chapter 14: Complicity 171

Chapter 15: Measles 191

Chapter 16: We All Have Our Faults 196

Chapter 17: The Bad One 206

Chapter 18: Whither Earthquake Prediction? 222

Acknowledgments 231

Notes 233

General Index 255

Index of Earthquakes by Year 261

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