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The New Madrid quack.

The New Madrid quack

The mood among top earthquake experts ranged from angry to anxious to amused as national attention recently focused on New Madrid, Mo. -- a town at the center of one of the more controversial earthquake predictions in years. The New Madrid fault zone unleashed some of North America's greatest seismic shocks in 1811 and 1812, and geoscientists say chances are high an earthquake will shake this region in the next few decades. But geologists and seismologists have labored hard in the last two months to quell the hysteria that erupted after meteorologist Iben Browning of Tijeras, N.M., put even odds that unusually high tidal forces would trigger a strong quake near New Madrid within a few days of Dec. 3. In October, a panel of experts concluded this prediction had no scientific validity. Perhaps the greatest proof that geophysicists did not take Browning serious was the fact that they remained at the American Geophysical Union meeting on the target date rather than flocking to New Madrid to witness the predicted quake, says geologist Eugene S. Schweig of Memphis (Tenn.) State University.
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Title Annotation:earthquake predictions of Iben Browning
Author:Monastersky, Richard
Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 15, 1990
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