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Study claims Japan earthquake could have been predicted

May 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Could the Japan earthquake have been predicted?

A scientific study claims there's a connection between the March 11 quake and changes that took place in the atmosphere several days in advance.

The study concludes that stresses and movements in the Earth released gases above the epicenter of the earthquake that heated up the atmosphere days before the trembler struck.

A group of NASA and Russian scientists said it reviewed 24 earthquakes in Japan of a 7.0-magnitude or stronger. They report that all of the tremblers showed the same heating up of the atmosphere before the quake hit.

"It's bologna," said seismologist Dr. Susan Hough with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Hough explains that the report released is more of showboating than actually providing a way to predict when an earthquake will hit.

"They've been playing this game a long time," said Hough. "They're predicting earthquakes after they happen. What we need to see is predictions before they happen."

One question Hough has for her fellow scientists is if they truly believe in their theory, why weren't they able to predict the Japan quake days before it hit? Why are they talking about it after the fact?

"Looking at electron density and things like that in the ionosphere, it goes up, it goes down," said Hough. "So if you look back after the earthquake happens, there is blips that you can identify. And that's just not the way you're ever going to demonstrate that a prediction method works, after the fact. You've got to make the predictions before the fact and then see what your track record is."

Another NASA scientist said earthquakes are not linked to the heating up of the atmosphere. Hough said that Southern California should be prepared because when the next quake will hit, it is anyone's guess.

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