Earthquake precursors: Banished forever?



“When a rupture starts, how can it know where will it stop?” [Gregory Podyapolsky, 1973]

Podyapolsky, a brilliant theorist, made this comment many years ago, upon perceiving that the earthquake prediction bandwagon in the Soviet Union was gaining speed. Twenty years later, we can observe just how far the bandwagon has gone. The report on the Assessment of Schemes for Earthquake Prediction Symposium [Geller, 1997a], given by one of its key figures, provides some insight. I hazard to sum up the key points of this report as follows: