Although many people would like them to, scientists cannot predict earthquakes. They can, however, estimate the probability of one occurring using hazard modelling systems.
An excerpt (read in full here):
One in seven chance of 6.0
Canterbury has a one in seven or eight chance of a magnitude-6.0 to 6.4 earthquake in the next year, new figures show.
However, there is only a one in 50 chance of a magnitude-7.0 quake or higher, forecasts released yesterday show.
The Press had asked GNS Science to break down its latest quake forecasts for the next year.
That followed a briefing last Friday from GNS Science seismologist Kelvin Berryman which focused on the probability of two broad groups of quakes – those between magnitude 5.0 and 5.9, and between magnitude 6.0 and 7.9.
Those predictions were the first time the 7.9-magnitude figure had been used.
This week The Press received nearly two dozen telephone calls and emails expressing concern about the chance of such a huge quake and questioning if 7.9 was a mistake and should have been 6.9.
As a result, The Press requested a recalculation into narrower bands.
Those figures arrived yesterday after a long-winded process involving GNS Science, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee’s office…