Creepy forebodings

Published: Saturday 15 June 1996

Slow, creeping movements of the earth might actually precede earthquakes, according to Clifford H Thurber, a geologist at the University of Wisconsin, US. Monitoring these creep events in the San Andreasfaultin California for some time now, Thurber contends that these may prove useful in providing short-termwarning (of about four months) before larger earthquakes with magnitudes of around six on the Richter scale strike. Four out of five of Thurber's predictions based on creep events between October 95 and mid-Januarythis year, held true within the stated time. Earthquakes followed a creep event after a periQd of 16 hours to five days.

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