Wed, Jan 17, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Earthquake predictors win fans but face steep fines

PAINFUL PREDICTIONS The Seismological Observation Center says scientific data, not people, should predict earthquakes, even if self-styled quake predictors disagree

By David Chang  /  DPA , WITH STAFF WRITER

On Jan. 3, Chiu called the DPA news agency, saying he had received signals indicating an earthquake was going to hit eastern Taiwan in about three days, "but it'll be a small one."

A magnitude-4.3 quake hit eastern Taiwan two days later.

Small earthquakes regularly occur around Taiwan, especially along the east coast.

About 200 quakes of at least magnitude 4 jolt the nation each year, with around a dozen of them measuring above magnitude 5.

On Jan. 4 and Jan. 5, Chiu said he was "receiving signals" again and "knew" a large quake was going to occur north of Taiwan, possibly in Japan.

He know it would be an undersea earthquake because it was a dull pain, he said.

On Saturday, a magnitude-8.2 undersea earthquake occurred near Japan's northern islands.

The earthquake triggered two small tidal waves.

The Meteorological Agency in Japan and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had both warned that the quake could result in a 1m high tsunami.

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