International Journal of Earth & Environmental Sciences Volume 1 (2016), Article ID 1:IJEES-101, 7 pages
Review Article
Earthquake Forecasting and Earthquake Preparedness

Eduardo Ivo Cruzes P. Ribeiro Alves

Centre for Geophysics and Department of Earth Sciences, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Dr. E. Ivo Alves, Centre for Geophysics and Department of Earth Sciences, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal; E-mail:
13 December 2015; 15 January 2016; 17 January 2016
Alves EI (2016) Earthquake Forecasting and Earthquake Preparedness. Int J Earth Environ Sci 1: 101. doi:


Earthquake prediction is usually dealt with in one of two ways: the prediction of the effects of a postulated earthquake on a specific site or the prediction of the occurrence of events. The first approach is today well developed and should always be instrumental for the design and implementation of construction codes and for general planning. Event forecasting still is regarded as a scientific curiosity without much practical application, namely where it still must prove to be useful: for the protection of human lives and property. This is the core question: can this type of forecast be useful? In the present work an application of earthquake forecasting is proposed that is similar in form to weather probability forecasting and should be made available both to the authorities and to the public. In the present context, the question that must be answered is: can this type of forecast be useful (in the above sense of helping to protect lives and property)? The prediction of another type of chaotic phenomenon has entered our lives for decades - weather forecasts - and perhaps we can draw lessons from its application. The sociological argument that earthquake forecasting can cause widespread panic has been surpassed by meteorology and climatology. A similar approach to earthquake forecasting is proposed here: the existing methods should be integrated in the periodical publication of seismic probability maps. This will have two beneficial effects: to get the general public acquainted with earthquake forecasting, its successes and failures, and, at the same time, helping to divulge a much needed culture of safety and preparedness; to the authorities, since civil protection resources are always scarce, the knowledge of an increased probability of an earthquake occurrence could help cluster some of those resources on the most threatened areas during the highest probability windows.