Can we really predict earthquakes?
After two earthquakes shook parts of Southern and Eastern Mindanao last month and several deep sea creatures were washed up in several coasts in the Philippines, conspiracy theorists can’t help but believe that a magnitude 7.2 earthquake, dubbed as the “Big One”, will soon jolt parts of Luzon.
Are these signs that the strong earthquake is coming?
Are we really capable of predicting earthquakes?
Seismologist can forecast where major earthquakes are likely to take place based on the movement of the plates in the Earth as well as the location of fault zones. By looking at the history of earthquakes in the region and by detecting where pressure is building along fault lines, they can also make general predictions where earthquake may happen in a certain area.
However, these forecasts are not 100% reliable since strain is released along one part of a fault system and may actually increase strain on another part.
Today, most earthquake predictions are still vague and seismologists had more success in forecasting aftershocks based on extensive research of aftershock patterns.
Currently, seismologists are looking at the possibility of predicting earthquakes based on the relationship of magnetic and electrical charges in rock material and earthquakes. They hypothesized that electromagnetic fields change just before an earthquake occurs.
Furthermore, seismologists are the studying potential warning signs of earthquakes like gas seepage and the tilting of the ground.
While no technology can accurately predict earthquake, major advances have been achieved in earthquake preparedness to minimize injuries, deaths as well as loss of properties.