Large earthquakes strike infrequently and close-in recordings are uncommon. This situation makes it difficult to predict the ground motion very close to earthquake-generating faults, if the prediction is to be based on readily available observations. A solution might be to cover the Earth with seismic instruments so that one could rely on the data from previous events to predict future shaking. However, even in the case of complete seismic data coverage for hundreds of years, there would still be one type of earthquake that would be difficult to predict: those very rare earthquakes that produce very large ground motion.


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