Earthquakes: Don't Sit Under the Old Oak Tree

Don't Sit Under the Old Oak Tree

Scientists have refined their skills to the point where they now believe that under certain conditions they can predict an earthquake. Last week the U.S. Geological Survey for the first time pronounced an impending shake-up: the tiny ranch community of Parkfield, Calif. (pop. 34), has a more than 90% probability of being rocked within the next nine years by a tremor. Residents of the town, which lies along the San Andreas Fault, seem unconcerned. "We don't have any high-rise buildings," observes Duane Hamann, the hamlet's only schoolteacher. "We just better stay out from under the old oak tree."

But a policy...

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