Can earthquakes be predicted? At present no: here’s what the experts say

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria, with its hypocenter at a depth of about 25 km and its epicenter in the province of Gaziantep, has rekindled attention on the possibility of predicting earthquakes. Helping to ignite the online discussion was a tweet dated February 3, 2023, which went viral in these hours, by a Twitter user according to which “sooner or later there will be an earthquake with a magnitude of around 7.5 in the central-southern region of Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon”. So is it possible to predict earthquakes? According to the scientific world, at present, no. (PHOTOS OF THE DEVASTATION – THE WORST EARTHQUAKE EVER – EXPERT OPINIONS ON SKY TG24)

Doglioni: “We are still not able to predict earthquakes”

The president of Ingv – the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – Carlo Doglioni also confirmed the impossibility of making predictions: “Unfortunately, we are still unable to predict earthquakes”, explained the geologist to Sky TG24. And then he added: “But these dramatic, terrible images remind us that it is essential to be aware that there may be an earthquake and that therefore we must build in an anti-seismic manner. Prevention is the first weapon against earthquakes. Even if one day we come to predict them, the most important thing will be to have safe houses”.

Predict earthquakes in Italy

The impossibility, at present, of predicting earthquakes is also confirmed by the Civil Protection Department in Italy: “Today science is not yet able to predict the exact time and place in which the next earthquake will occur. The only possible forecast is statistical, based on knowledge of the seismicity that has historically affected our area and therefore on the recurrence of earthquakes”, it is reported on the official website. Information that obviously also applies to the possibility of predicting earthquakes in Italy: “We know which areas of our country are affected by high seismicity, by frequency and intensity of earthquakes, and therefore where it is more likely that an event will occur seismic event of strong intensity, but it is not possible to establish exactly the moment in which it will occur ”, explains the Civil Protection.

Predict earthquakes in the future?

Although it is impossible to predict an earthquake at present, researchers are working to bring this goal as close as possible. This is again confirmed by the Civil Protection Department, according to which “in recent years science has made considerable progress in the study of seismic precursors”, i.e. “those chemical and physical parameters of the soil and subsoil which undergo observable variations before the occurrence of an earthquake. In the future”, adds the Civil Protection, “the systematic study of these precursors could allow the initial instant of the earthquake to be fixed, even if false alarms will have to be avoided, which could be even more damaging”. To date, however, “to avoid the effects of an earthquake it is necessary to reduce the risk factors, acting in particular on the quality of the buildings. Prevention therefore remains the only effective way to reduce the consequences of an earthquake”.