PSN-L Email List Message

Subject: Re: Earthquake prediction messages
From: "steve hammond" shammon1@.............
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000 18:23:53 -0700

Hi Larry, thanks for the intervention. I support your comments.

FYI, the PSN has had two encounters with predictions in the past. Both
resulted in the group being cast into the position where we had to defend
our groups intentions including it's internal communications. One incident
involved Jack Cole who got the news media in a "news story feeding frenzy"
after Jack reported he could predict earthquakes when his stereo speakers
popped and crackled and the other was a fellow that posted information about
the AEC drilling tunnels along the fault lines to test atomic weapons,
predicting the testing would continue. Each time there was an earthquake,
that guy would claim it was another AEC test along the Hayward or SA fault.

Let me get to the point. As a group the routinely reaches out to help
schools, libraries, and children's museums, one of the things we forget to
consider is that several young kids read our comments because they have an
interest in learning about earthquakes. Most don't know how to extract the
fact from the not so factual information being presented. Let me relate a
true story to you. After one of Jack Cole's predictions, predicting a great
earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area, a nine year old that lived across
the street showed up at my door. She knew I recorded earthquakes and wanted
to know what I thought. She was frightened, having lost a lot of sleep over
Jack's predications. We talked on the front step for awhile and after she
left she brought back three other kids from the block. I repeated the same
lecture on earthquakes, plate tectonics, and earthquake frequency along any
given fault line. Larry, you might remember this story because you were a
part of the discussion that ensued.

We talked it around in the group and came up with a plan. 1) Only God and
the State Board of Emergency Services was allowed to make earthquake
predictions that included the PSN. 2) Any real prediction would have the
exact time, place, depth, and size and be supported by accepted scientific
evidence. For example, if you look at the Parkfield prediction done by Al
Lynd at the USGS, it contains each of these components and is supported by
scientific study. I for one still feel that the Parkfield event will occur
and what I would really like to know is why it has not in the given time

I view this new current round of predictions as being more theatrical in
nature and a grab for the spotlight because of the way they have been
presented. I don't feel the predictions are supported by scientific evidence
and therefor are premature until a hypothesis has been clearly stated and
proven statistically to be valid.  I think a good spot for these predictions
would be on Canie's site. Thanks Canie-- Because there, they will be posted
in a context that is of a predictive nature and understood to be outside the
current bounds of seismology and the construction and operation of home
built seismographs.

Regards, Steve Hammond   PSN San Jose
Aptos, California

-----Original Message-----
From: Canie 
To: psn-l@.............. 
Date: Sunday, September 17, 2000 3:37 PM
Subject: Re: Earthquake prediction messages

>Hi Larry,
>I host a web site that is dedicated to the sort of quake prediction posts
>that are being made to the list.
>We limit who we allow to post due to obvious abusive communications that
>are possible on this subject, therefore people need to register prior to
>posting - its a one time registration and all e-mail addresses are kept
>Alan Jones is also one of our readers/posters who evaluated predictions.
>Anyone interested in posting their predictions should go to this site and
>At 12:18 PM 9/17/00 -0700, Larry Cochrane wrote:
>>I just sent an email asking the person who is sending the earthquake
>>"predictions"  messages too stop posting to our list. In my opinion, and
>>others, these message are off topic.
>>Having said that, and trying to keep an open mind about predicting
>>earthquakes,  I don't want to totally stop all prediction posts. If
>>comes up with some equipment or away of making accurate predictions, I for
>>one would like to hear about it since I live near large active faults! I
>>just don't think earthquakes are predictable, so I'm not holding my breath
>>for this to happen.
>>If someone is going to make a prediction it has to be as precises as
>>possible with a location, time frame and magnitude range. All three
>>parameters must be met before the prediction can be considered a "hit". If
>>the predictor predicts a magnitude 5 and a magnitude 2.5 happens in the
>>time frame and location that doesn't count etc...
>>Larry Cochrane
>>Redwood City, PSN
>>Public Seismic Network Mailing List (PSN-L)
>>To leave this list email PSN-L-REQUEST@.............. with
>>the body of the message (first line only): unsubscribe
>>See for more information.
>Public Seismic Network Mailing List (PSN-L)
>To leave this list email PSN-L-REQUEST@.............. with
>the body of the message (first line only): unsubscribe
>See for more information.


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Larry Cochrane <cochrane@..............>