Although it is not possible to predict when an earthquake will occur, many earthquakes have been found to have had some precursor activity. To study precursors of stick-slip behavior, Johnson et al. conducted laboratory experiments on a sheared granular material under normal stress ranging from 2 to 8 megapascals as an analog for a fault under tectonic stress. They found that acoustic emissions and microslips are a precursor to larger movements. Very similar results were obtained in a discrete element simulation of sheared beads. These types of experiments could help scientists better understand when earthquakes are more likely to occur. As shown by a number of researchers, very similar activity preceding faulting can occur in the Earth.