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California earthquake prediction project aimed to identify hotspots

In the ongoing quest to better anticipate earthquakes, scientists embarked on an ambitious experiment: Identify the likeliest places where magnitude-4.9 quakes or stronger would occur in seismically active California over a five-year period.

Half a dozen teams decided to give it a shot. They developed sophisticated computer models, submitted their best guesses and waited. As part of the ground rules, they could not change their forecasts, which were checked against actual quakes that hit during the study period.

Seismologist David Jackson of the University of California, Los Angeles, likened the experiment to kiddie soccer.

There are "no official winners or losers, but plenty of scorekeeping from the sidelines" to learn the strengths and weaknesses of various quake theories, Jackson said.

To read the full article by Alicia Chang click here.