California’s Office of Emergency Services issued an earthquake advisory warning residents and officials around Los Angeles and San Diego counties of a possible major earthquake through October 4.
OES based its warning on a swarm of earthquakes that rattled the Salton Sea area earlier in the week. More than 140 seismic events have been recorded near Bombay Beach along the Salton Sea which sits on the San Andreas fault northeast of San Diego. These events have occurred beginning on Monday, and range from magnitude 1.4 to 4.3 on the Richter scale.
The warning and prediction have raised alarm in southern California. Warnings of earthquakes are certainly not common. And it is no secret that California is a zone that is prone to earthquakes. In fact, buildings and structures built in California are required to have various considerations in order to withstand some level of earthquakes.
When earthquake warnings are issued, they understandably raise great concern. After all, the destructive power of earthquakes cannot be understated. Just this year, earthquakes around the world have literally leveled entire towns leaving swarms of casualties. There are few natural disasters that occur that are as devastating.
One of the primary reasons that this is the case is that unlike things like hurricanes, earthquakes are highly unpredictable. But unfortunately, when one is predicted, many equate it to that of weather predictions.
That’s a perfect segue to a very important point. The OES issued an earthquake warning. And if anyone is going to predict an event, then it is important to consider how many times they have successfully predicted that event.
OES has predicted an earthquake exactly zero times. Not only that, according to the United States Geological Survey, the world’s foremost expert on seismic activity, it is not possible to predict earthquakes. “Neither the USGS nor any other scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake. They do not know how and they do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future.”
Earthquake predictions are based on crude calculations of increases in the chances of earthquakes based on historical data. The methodology is so crude that not only have earthquakes not been predicted, but issuing warnings borders on irresponsible.