Why Earthquakes Are So Hard To Predict

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Published on 13 Feb 2019, 13:03
Scientists are trying to figure out if they can predict big earthquakes by simulating small quakes in labs and studying big quakes under the ocean. Thanks to the University of Rhode Island for sponsoring this video.

Thanks also to our Patreon patrons patreon.com/MinuteEarth and our YouTube members.


To learn more, start your googling with these keywords:
Earthquake: A violent shaking of the earth, usually due to movements of tectonic plates under the earth’s crust.
Seismometer: An instrument that detects changes in the up-down motion of the earth.
Seismic body waves: Higher frequency waves released by earthquakes that can move through solid rock.
Seismic surface waves: Lower frequency waves released by earthquakes that move along the ground and cause most damage.
Earthquake Early Warning System: A network of strategically placed seismometers that trigger emergency warning systems in particular areas when they detect large seismic body waves.
Evacuation Clearance Time: The time needed to evacuate a particular population to safety.
Earthquake Precursor: An anomalous event that gives an effective warning of an impending earthquake.
Transform Faults: Faults where two tectonic plates slide past each other.

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Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: David Goldenberg (@dgoldenberg)
Script Editor, Video Director & Narrator: Alex Reich (@alexhreich)
Video Illustrator: Jesse Agar (@JesseAgarYT)
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Kate Yoshida, Ever Salazar, Emily Elert, Peter Reich
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder: soundcloud.com/drschroeder

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant 1654416. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


Geller, R. (1997). Earthquake Prediction: A Critical Review. Geophysical Journal International. 131 (425-450). Retrieved from: academic.oup.com/gji/article/131/3/425/2...

Wei, M. (2018). Seismic Behavior on Oceanic Transform Faults at the East Pacific Rise. Transform Plate Boundaries and Fracture Zones. Elsevier. Retrieved from: elsevier.com/books/transform-plate-bound...

Hsu, Y., and Peeta, S. (2015). Clearance Time Estimation for Incorporating Evacuation Risk in Routing Strategies for Evacuation Operation. Networks and Spatial Economics. 15 (743-764). Retrieved from: link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11067...

Kucken, M. and Newell, A. (2005). Fingerprint Formation. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 235 (71-83). Retrieved from: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15833314.

Wei, M. (2019). Personal Communication. Graduate School of Oceanography. University of Rhode Island.
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