Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

President's Page: A code of ethics for earthquake predictors?


  • Carl Kisslinger


On June 22, President Carter submitted to the Congress a plan for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program. This plan was prepared in response to the requirements of the Earthquake Hazards Act of 1977 (PL95-124), which was signed into law in October 1977. Of particular significance to AGU is the following passage from the section of the plan, Evaluating Earthquake Predictions: ‘… Scientific societies such as the Seismological Society of America, the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union are urged to develop ethical and scientific guidelines to be followed by individual scientists and scientific institutions in issuing earthquake predictions.’ Thus AGU is thrust into a serious and delicate problem, one that is no longer merely philosophical and academic.