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Why are earthquakes so hard to forecast or predict?

A recent news and feature article in the science magazine Nature by news reporter Glennda Chui discusses problems with current understanding of earthquake science and the future of earthquake forecasting. 

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Welcome to Open Hazards

To paraphrase Cramer on CNBC's "Mad Money", our aim is to inform and educate.  In this recurring blog, I will relate many of my personal experiences with the people, institutions, and events surrounding damaging earthquakes, here in the US and internationally. 

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An earthquake lesson, straight from China

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake struck this morning in Yunnan, southwest China, and caused great damage to the areas in and around the epicenter of Binchuan County.  Twenty-eight people were injured, and 300,000 people are affected. Over a thousand houses and other buildings collapsed, with more than thirty thousand homes and buildings damaged to varying degrees.

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Measuring the size of an earthquake is a complicated process, which is the main reason most of us have trouble understanding just how much power is released by an earthquake of a certain “magnitude”. I searched around for the simplest explanation possible. If you understand a little more about the potential power that can be unleashed during an earthquake, then you might also appreciate how important it is to be prepared.

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OpenHazards: A site you can trust.

It's out there, somewhere in cyberspace, that vast network of computers  where online communication happens. Sit down at a computer, open your favorite browser. In the search window, pose any question that comes to mind. Then scroll through the mountains of material served up in an instant. Easy!

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Why Should You Care?

Ever stumbled inside one of those carnival fun houses where the floors are all uneven and the walls are at odd angles? Ever been groping around in a dark room and put your foot on a stair step you thought was there -- but wasn't? Ever been on a small boat in a big storm at sea, with huge waves tossing the boat around like a small bottle cork? If you answered yes to any of these, or have a good imagination, then you know a little of what it's like to be surprised by a large, damaging earthquake.


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