Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Assessing California earthquake forecasts

Date:
September 29, 2011
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
Earthquake prediction remains an imperfect science, but the best forecasts are about 10 times more accurate than a random prediction, according to a new study.

The best forecasts for earthquakes are about 10 times more accurate than a random prediction, a new study by scientists in California finds.
Credit: iStockphoto/Michal Bryc

Earthquake prediction remains an imperfect science, but the best forecasts are about 10 times more accurate than a random prediction, according to a study published Sept. 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the study, UC Davis researchers compare seven different earthquake forecasts (including their own) that were submitted to a competition organized by the Southern California Earthquake Center.

The findings should help researchers both develop better earthquake forecasts and improve their tools for assessing those forecasts, said Donald Turcotte, a distinguished professor of geology at UC Davis and co-author of the paper.

The center launched the competition in 2005 based on a previous forecast published by the UC Davis group in 2001. Teams were invited to forecast the probability of an earthquake of magnitude 4.95 or greater, from Jan. 1, 2006, to Dec. 31, 2010, in almost 8,000 grid squares covering California and bordering areas.

During this time, 31 earthquakes struck in 22 grid squares, with the largest being the magnitude 7.2 earthquake just south of the U.S.-Mexican border in April 2010. All seven forecasts showed some utility in forecasting the locations of likely earthquakes: The best forecasts were about 10 times better than a random forecast.

The forecast submitted by the UC Davis group was the most accurate in picking the locations of the earthquakes, correctly labeling 17 of 22 grids and giving the highest probability of an earthquake in eight of these 17. Using a different forecasting method, Agnes Helmstetter of UCLA and colleagues gave the highest average probability of an earthquake for all 22 affected grids, although it did less well at assigning a higher probability to grid squares where an earthquake occurred.

"Just as there are alternative ways to forecast earthquakes, there are also alternative ways to evaluate the success of the forecasts," Turcotte said, noting that other publications evaluating the forecasts are expected.

The UC Davis group includes professors John Rundle and Turcotte, postdoctoral researcher James Holliday, and graduate students Ya Ting Lee and Michael Sachs. Also contributing were Chien-Chih Chen, National Central University, Taiwan; Kristy Tiampo, University of Western Ontario; and Andrea Donnellan of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y.-T. Lee, D. L. Turcotte, J. R. Holliday, M. K. Sachs, J. B. Rundle, C.-C. Chen, K. F. Tiampo. Results of the Regional Earthquake Likelihood Models (RELM) test of earthquake forecasts in California. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1113481108

Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "Assessing California earthquake forecasts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110928110018.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2011, September 29). Assessing California earthquake forecasts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110928110018.htm
University of California - Davis. "Assessing California earthquake forecasts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110928110018.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Napa Valley Wine Grower Survives Catastrophic California Drought

Napa Valley Wine Grower Survives Catastrophic California Drought

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) Despite a severe drought in California, Mumm Napa's winemaker says this season's crop may be better than average thanks to well-timed spring rains. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Study Says The Moon Was Deformed Early In Its History

New Study Says The Moon Was Deformed Early In Its History

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Scientists say when the moon was young, it was deformed by the Earth's gravitational pull, which gave it a lemon-like shape. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Quake Forecast Gets High Score in Study

Oct. 3, 2011 While earthquakes can't yet be predicted, scientists are making advances in their ability to forecast where they are most likely to occur, with the best forecasts now about 10 times more ... read more
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins