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Scientists say earthquake predictor is hoax

April 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Destructive earthquakes have struck all around the world in the last two months and there have been a total of 70 4.0 quakes in Southern California so far this year, which is more than any this decade. According to geologist Erik Pounders that's just a little glitch.

"If you compare that to the 1980s, it's just in line with what we saw then," he said.

Web sites that claim to predict earthquakes are seeing hits like never before.

Earthquake predictor Luke Thomas says he studies the models every morning before making his predictions.

"It takes about two to three hours," Thomas said. "I analyze the data from thermal temperature changes around California."

From Florida, Thomas draws the maps and makes the predictions.

"Based on the temperature change, the inferred heating of the ground, caused the ground to heat up and causes the air to warm up above that," Thomas said.

The problem is there's no connection between air temperature and rock that moves six miles underground.

"If you look at the people who have predicted an earthquake, maybe one or two, they are predicting earthquakes all the time and if you throw 1,000 darts at a dart board eventually you're going to hit the bull's-eye," Pounders said. "It doesn't mean that you have a consistent theory that can be tested over and over again to make accurate decisions."

Many people have taken the so-called predictions seriously but Thomas says he's not to blame for alarm.

"As long as the people are ready and prepared for the quake there's nothing really to worry about," he said.

Thomas says he keeps changing his technique of quake prediction and admits he doesn't have a perfect system.


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