Two weeks ago in Italy, the L’Aquila Prosecutor’s office indicted scientists, some of them members of the “Commissione Grandi Rischi” (Commission for High Risks), and civil protection officials for manslaughter. The basis for the indictment is that these people did not provide a short-term alarm to the population after a meeting of the Commission held in L’Aquila six days before the Mw 6.3 earthquake that struck that city and the surrounding area.
The allegations against the scientists are completely unfounded. Years of research worldwide have shown that there is currently no scientifically accepted method for short-term earthquake prediction that can reliably be used by Civil Protection authorities for rapid and effective emergency actions.
The international seismological community has long recognized that the best approach to defending populations from catastrophic earthquakes is not through earthquake prediction, but through risk mitigation and the application of appropriate safety measures to prevent buildings from collapsing. In this regard, the development of seismic hazard maps, which provide estimates of the probability of occurrence of predefined values of peak ground motion in a given time period, provide the specifications required by building codes to avoid collapse of buildings and the resulting fatalities
Italy is an earthquake-prone . . . → Read More: Open letter to the President of the Republic of Italy