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January 6 2013

Scientists Seek Foolproof Signal to Predict Earthquakes


Twenty-three hundred years ago, hordes of mice, snakes, and insects fled the Greek city of Helike on the Gulf of Corinth (map). "After these creatures departed, an earthquake occurred in the night," wrote the ancient Roman writer Claudius Aelianus. "The city subsided; an immense wave flooded and Helike disappeared."

Since then, generations of scientists and folklorists have used a dizzying array of methods to attempt to predict earthquakes. Animal behavior, changes in the weather, and seismograms have all fallen short.

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