Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

VAN method lacks validity



Varotsos and colleagues (the VAN group) claim to have successfully predicted many earthquakes in Greece. Several authors have refuted these claims, as reported in the May 27,1996, special issue of Geophysical Research Letters and a recent book, A Critical Review of VAN [Lighthill 1996]. Nevertheless, the myth persists. Here we summarize why the VAN group's claims lack validity.

The VAN group observes electrical potential differences that they call “seismic electric signals” (SES) weeks before and hundreds of kilometers away from some earthquakes, claiming that SES are somehow premonitory. This would require that increases in stress or decreases in strength cause the electrical variations, or that some regional process first causes the electrical signals and then helps trigger the earthquakes. Here we adopt their notation SES to refer to the electrical variations, without accepting any link to the quakes.