A new computer model has been developed that describes the way rock formations dilate under stress. This computer, used in conjunction with laboratory observations of rock deformation, has provided ‘the first significant step toward predicting the place, time and even magnitude of an impending earthquake,’ according to J.T. Cherry, Principal Investigator in the Geophysics and Materials Department at Systems, Science and Software, Inc., of La Jolla, California.
The computer ‘dilatancy model’ previously developed by Cherry, plus the laboratory observations, have been used to explain readings from a region of California's San Andreas fault. Data taken by scientists at the region over a five-year period had perplexed seismologists, since the data did not correlate with information generated by other models.