Earthquake Forecasts: Kamchatka, Japan
July 7, 2013 • 11:13AM

Independent earthquake forecasting experts are warning of a large earthquake in the region of the Kamchatka peninsula, Russia, sometime in mid- to late July, and a possible mega-quake in Japan at the end of 2013 (or in 2014). Although not claiming to be perfect predictions of an exact size, location, and date, such forecasts have been improving in their accuracy, and should be taken as serious warnings for an event within or near the general location, date, and magnitude parameters provided.

On July 5, 2013 the international working group Electromagnetic Studies of Earthquakes and Volcanoes (EMSEV) sent a message to their email list, saying they were watching the Kamchatka region for a possible earthquake sometime in the next 15 days. The estimated size would be magnitude 6.1 to 7.1, possibly just south of the bottom tip of the peninsula, and they asked for members of the group to attempt to verify. The EMSEV is a working group within the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), and includes the participation of leading earthquake forecasting scientists from Russia, Italy, the U.S.A., Japan, China, Greece, Turkey, and other nations (although it is not clear who exactly in the group performed the analysis for this forecast).

Upon receiving this message, 21st Century Science & Technology contacted another earthquake forecasting expert who is not part of the EMSEV. Based upon the independent investigations of his group, they have already been watching for a possible large quake near Kamchatka during this time frame, either July 12-15, or July 19-22 (+/-2 days). The contact also confirmed that there is concern about a new mega-quake in Japan.

Based up a method of examining patterns in the size and distribution of smaller earthquakes, in the Spring of 2013 Russian scientist Alexey Lyubushin, with the Institute of Physics of the Earth, issued a long-term forecast of a mega-quake off the coast of Tokyo, Japan (Nankai Trough), in the 2013-2014 period. The earthquake forecasting expert contacted by 21st Century said they are expecting this next powerful Japan quake around the end of 2013, and are checking for precursor signals every 2-3 weeks. The hope would be that their short-term forecasting methods ("non-seismic") would provide a warning of a few days to a few weeks before the quake hits.

Whether such warnings would be able to be acted upon, and what the appropriate action would be, goes beyond the scope of these scientists and to the domain of the relevant government officials.