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Competing Quake Predictions Analyzed

September 29, 2011 by  

DAVIS, Calif., Sept. 28 (UPI) — A competition held by the Southern California Earthquake Center could mean better earthquake forecasts and improve tools for assessing them, officials said.

In a study, researchers at the University of California, Davis, compared seven different earthquake forecasts — including their own — that were submitted in the competition launched in 2005 by the SCEC, headquartered at the University of Southern California.

Teams were required 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, a UC Davis release said Wendesday.

Thirty-one earthquakes struck in 22 grid squares in the time period, the largest a 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 researchers said, and the best forecasts were about 10 times better than a random forecast.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

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