Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Italian earthquake scientists indicted for failing to predict quake

Excert from an email I received from the Seismological Society of America (SSA):

Two weeks ago the L’Aquila Prosecutor’s office indicted of manslaughter the members of the National High Risk Committee that met in L'Aquila one week before the Mw6.3 earthquake. The charges are for failing to provide a short term alarm to the population before the earthquake struck, killing more than 300  people.
The president of INGV (National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology), Enzo Boschi (member of the High Risk Committee), and the director of the National Earthquake Center, Giulio  Selvaggi (just accompanying Boschi to the meeting as technical  specialist), are among the scientists in seismology and earthquake  engineering now under investigation together with some civil protection officials.
 This is insane. Earthquake prediction is notoriously difficult and there is no current accepted method for predicting an event. The best scientists can do now is to develop seismic hazard maps and risk assessment in order to help guide better building codes, train response teams, and help prepare the community as much as possible. The SSA has drafted an open-letter addressed to the President of the  Italian Republic, and asks anyone working in seismology or the Earth sciences in general to sign the letter and show your support for these scientists. 

The letter can be found here: open-letter in support of Italian scientists

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