Seismologist’s Prediction of Sichuan Quake Ignored, Says Scientist
Seismologist’s Prediction of Sichuan Quake Ignored, Says Scientist

The same night of Sichuan’s May 12 earthquake, Chinese scientist Li Shihui revealed on his blog that Chinese seismologist Geng Qingguo accurately predicted the quake and warned authorities about the disaster in late April. According to Li, Geng’s report was ignored by Chinese authorities.

Mr. Li, a visiting fellow scientist at the Key Laboratory of Geo-mechanical Engineering at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said in the article that Geng first raised the issue as early as 2006, warning that a major quake will occur in Aba area of Sichuan Province where the 5.12 quake happened.

According to Li, on April 26 and 27, the Committee of Natural Disaster Prediction, an organization under China Geophysical Institute, discussed Geng’s findings and further predicted that a quake measuring 6 to 7 will occur between May 2008 and April 2009 in the area south to Lanzhou City where Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces meet. The committee’s report was turned into China Seismology Bureau as a confidential document on April 30.

In addition, Geng Qingguo clearly pointed out that in Aba region a quake of 7 or higher magnitude is most likely to occur in 10 days before and after May 8, 2008. His prediction has been proved accurate in every aspect: magnitude, location, and time. But his report received no response from the authorities.

Li Shihui revealed in his blog that a seismologist predicted the Wenchuan earthquake in April.
Li Shihui revealed in his blog that a seismologist predicted the Wenchuan earthquake in April.

“On hearing about Wenchuan’s 7.8-manitude earthquake, Chinese seismologist Geng Qingguo was struck with a tearless grief,” said Li in his blog. “His heart was bleeding.”

Geng Qingguo is a researcher for China Seismology Bureau and the Vice-Chair Examiner of The Committee for Natural Disaster Prediction at the China Geophysical Institute. According to Li Shihui, Geng developed the method of predicting major earthquakes with drought occurrence in 1972. With this method, Geng successfully predicted the 1975 earthquake in Haicheng City and the Tangshan quake in 1976 which killed at least 240,000 people. In the 1980s Geng published his theories in his book The Relationship Between Drought and Earthquake in China (published by Science Press).

“However,” Li said, “his scientific achievements offended authorities in the seismology field, and Geng was removed from the prediction team and transferred to a seismology newspaper.”

Li’s article has quickly drawn extensive attention. Many bloggers responded, condemning the Chinese authorities for ignoring the expert’s warning.

“I don’t understand why the authorities do not pay attention to the seismologists and let innocent people suffer!” said an angry blogger.

Another said, “If people were warned about it earlier, the quake would not have caused so many deaths.”

One blogger said, “I am one of the survivors of the Tangshan Quake. Tangshan people are extremely hostile toward the National Seismology Bureau. Because of their failure to predict such a devastating quake, over 240,000 people lost their lives. Now 32 years later, they again failed to predict the Sichuan quake. Why should we tax-payers spend money on you high officials in the National Seismology Bureau? The head of the National Seismology Bureau should resign from his position.”

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