By the same token, scientists have moved closer to attainment of an accurate earthquake prediction. They have identified three factors that can determine the time and size of fault movement. By predicting the time and size of fault movement, scientists have advanced further along the road that promises to guarantee issuance of an accurate earthquake prediction.
The three factors referred to above describe the condition of the rock system along a fault line. They indicate the size of the fault and other significant characteristics. Scientists have, for example, chosen to study the stiffness of rocks along the various fault lines. When combined with the amount of accumulated stress, the stiffness of the rocks can guide earthquake prediction.
Scientists learned the importance of fault lines by observing the location of the Earth's largest earthquakes. They noticed that those quakes seemed to fall into a spatial pattern. The ability of scientists to recognize that spatial pattern has offered some hope for California earthquake predictions.
Californians know that they live on a collection of fault lines. They know that they must be prepared for the possibility of an earthquake. By the same token they do not expect much warning of any future quake. Most historic earthquakes had not been preceded by one or more foreshocks.
There was, however, one exception. There was one major earthquake that did have foreshocks. In fact, the 1975 earthquake in Haicheng, China followed a series of warnings that the earth would soon start to rumble. Those warnings did not go unnoticed by the area residents.
Prior to that 1975 earthquake, the land elevations began changing. Prior to that earthquake, water levels in lakes and rivers began changing. Prior to that earthquake, the animals demonstrated unusual behavior.
Those warnings appear to have been a signal. Greater attention to such signals could increase the effectiveness of earthquake prediction. Greater attention to such signals should become an important part of training for emergencies caused by earthquakes.
No doubt the scientists in charge of California earthquake predictions have made a careful study of such warning signals. Those scientists would probably like to see Californians becoming better informed about such signals. Distribution of such information could supplement the programs already in force in California.
Those programs teach citizens how to go about getting prepared for "the big one." Those programs are praised by many authorities in large and small California cities. Such authorities know that they will be held responsible for the welfare of any future earthquake victims.