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China: Seismologist Claims Sichuan Earthquake Was Predicted

Li Shihui, a researcher of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), exposed in his blog that the Sichuan earthquake on May 12 was already predicted at an earlier time. In spite of the various rumors of earthquake omens which are flooded on the Internet, Li's specialty and systematic statement have helped him gain many people's confidence, even after his controversial articles are deleted by the network administrator.

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The front page of Li's blog

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Clicked on the relevant articles of Li's blog, the page appears to be”Sorry, the blog you visit doesn't exist.”

A copy of Li Shihui's article on chinalabs.com:

地震预报专家欲哭无泪 :今天的强震有人预报

中国科学院工程地质力学重点实验室   李世煇
2008-05-12 23:45:02

在西方现代科学技术主导下,破坏性地震(5级以上)的预报,特别是临震预报是不可能的。这是国内外地震界主流的共识。从这个角度看,32年前的唐山地震和今天的汶川地震都是不能准确预报的。凤凰卫视“有报天天读”提到:有的报纸说唐山地震是“三分天灾,七分人祸”;“时事辩论会主持人说:如果唐山地震时不拒绝外援,不会死几十万人。这些看法不符合实际。实际情况是,如果尊重中西文化优势互补的科学家的意见,这些灾难倒是可以避免的。请参阅本人博客上转载的和发表的有关文章。

在中国,一批(1970年代)年轻的中国地震工作者学习中国传统文化的精华(包括充分利用历史文献记载和“取象比类”的方法等),取得遥遥领先国际的科研成果。例如,耿庆国根据历代(包括1956-1970年)大旱与地震关系的统计,发现“6级以上大地震的震中区,震前1-3.5年往往是旱区。旱区越大,干旱时间越长,相应的震级越高”的统计规律(公元512年-1879年中国大旱后2-3.5年,发生了7次7.5-8级大地震)。1972年耿庆国提出“旱震关系大地震中期预报方法”,根据这一规律,耿庆国预报了1975年的海城地震,特别是1976年的唐山地震。在1980年代出版了专著《中国旱震关系》(科学出版社)。这些成果触犯了地震界当权者的利益,耿庆国被调出预报队伍,去了地震报社。

今天,2008年5月12日,听到四川汶川发生7.8级强震,中国的地震科学家耿庆国欲哭无泪,心里在流血。2006年他根据旱震关系提出中期预报,近年阿坝地区将发生7级以上地震。2008年4月26日和27日在中国地球物理学会下属的“天灾预测委员会”经集体讨论,作出“在一年内(2008.5-2009.4)仍应注意兰州以南,川、甘、青交界附近可能发生6-7级地震”的预报(文字报告已报中国地震局等,4月30日密件发出),而且,耿庆国根据强磁暴组合,明确提出“阿坝地区7级以上地震的危险点在5月8日(前后10天以内)”(以上地震预报三要素均已明确)。明明是国宝,却受到当权的主流地震科学家的排斥,只能靠微薄的退休费坚持搞科研。可惜这位退休的地震科学家的话,没有起到作用。

我的感觉是满腔悲愤。什么时候耿庆国、汪成民、任振球、王迪兴等一批国宝才能不受排挤,放开手脚为振兴中华效力呢?

Seismologist with tearless grief: Today's strong quake was predicted
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Key Laboratory of Engineering Geomechanics, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Li Shihui
2008-05-12 23:45:02
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Under the direction of the modern science and technology of Western World, the forecast of destructive earthquake(over 5 magnitude) is impossible, especially the imminent earthquake prediction, which has been a general consensus in the seismology world. From this point of view, there is no way to well predict the Tangshan earthquake 32 years ago or today's Wenchuan earthquake. The TV program “Read News Everyday”(有报天天读)of Phoenix mentioned: some newspapers said the calamity of Tangshan earthquake is “mainly caused by human error” ; the anchor of “Debate on Current Affairs”(时事辩论会) said: if China had accepted the international aid, hundreds of thousands of people would have survived. Those opinions are not in accord with the facts. The truth is the tragedy might have been avoided if authorities had accepted the views of the scientists, who combined the research of the east and the west. Please refer to the relevant articles I copied or published in my blog.
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During 1970‘s, a group of young seismologists in China had achieved great results which were well ahead of the world level by studying the essence of Chinese traditional culture(including the methods that fully make use of the historical documents and “analogy drawn from phenomena”). For example, according to the statistics of the relationship between drought and earthquake throughout the ages(including 1956-1970), Geng Qingguo discovered a law that “the epicentral region always suffered droughts 1-3.5 years before the earthquake over 6 magnitude. Besides, the larger the drought region occupied and the longer the drought lasted, the higher the corresponding magnitude would be.” (2-3.5 years after the long droughts during 512-1879AD, seven 7.5-8 magnitude earthquakes had occurred in China) In 1972, Geng Qingguo put forward a theory of “medium-term earthquake prediction based on the relationship between drought and quake”. By that law, Geng Qingguo successfully predicted the Haicheng earthquake in 1975 and especially the Tangshan earthquake in 1976. In 1980's, He published his treatise The Relationship between Drought and Earthquake in China (Science Press). However, those achievements challenged the powers in the Chinese seismology circle, so Geng Qingguo was shunted from the prediction team to an earthquake newspaper office.
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Today is May 12, 2008, Chinese seismologist Geng Qingguo is suffering with tearless grief. In 2006, according to the relationship between drought and earthquake he predicted in recent years there would be a serious earthquake over 7 magnitude in Aba autonomous region. After a group discussion on April 26 and 27, 2008, Committee of Natural Hazards Prediction subordinate to Chinese Geophysical Society (CGS) reported that “a 6-7 magnitude earthquake may occur to the south of Lanzhou, around the borders of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai.” (the written report had been sent to the China Earthquake Administration by confidential letter on April 30). What's more, Geng Qingguo clearly indicated that “the dangerous point of an earthquake over 7 magnitude in Aba region is on May 8 (within 10 days before or later)” in accordance with the magnetic storm Combinations.(The prediction above had obviously pointed out all the three essential factors). Geng Qingguo, an undoubted national treasure, is excluded by the earthquake experts of mainstream, and can only depend on a meager pension to continue his research. The pity is what this old seismologist said didn't make any difference.
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I am filled with grief and indignation. I was wondering if there will come a day when Geng Qingguo, Wang Chengmin, Ren Zhenqiu and Wangdixing such national treasure are not frozen out any more, and freely work for the rejuvenation of China.

meeting.jpg
摄于2006年12月17日“从海诚地震到青龙奇迹研讨会(第20次天地生人学术会议)”会前,左为耿庆国,右为汪成民,中为李世煇。

A picture taken before the “From Haicheng Earthquake to Qinglong Miracle Conference” on December 17, 2006. The one siting left is Geng Qingguo, Wang Chengmin on the right and Li Shihui in the middle.

The mass circulation of Li Shihui's article in the blogsphere and BBSs has provoked more criticism on China Earthquake Administration which did not publish any warning before the dreadful earthquake while some other netizens expressed their doubt about Li's unofficial statement.

Comments on KDNET:

作者:东风51 发布于 2008-5-15 0:11:55
……
总之,应以科学老实,实事求是的态度对待有关地震的信息,向民众讲清这些信息既不能说成是谣言,也还不足以可靠到可以公开发表的程度,相信人们是能理解的。简单粗暴的意识形态斗争式的处理方式只能适得其反,这个教训需要汲取的。
另外,拿耿庆国的预测说事也实在不可取,因事先并无法知道他预测的准确与否。
有朋友认为事先应对他的预测给予足够重视,因为人命关天。但这些朋友不知像这种“预测”成千上万,事先让人们从浩如烟海的信息中找到哪个是有价值的是困难的。
……

Author: Eastwind 51 Posted on 2008-5-15 0:11:55

In a word, the information about the earthquake should be treated with scientific and realistic attitude. Tell the people that those information is neither rumors nor totally reliable truth. I believe people will understand that. To deal with the situation only by violent ideological confrontation can only backfire. The authorities should learn the lesson.
On the other hand, it is really inadvisable to give too much emphasis to Geng Qingguo's prediction, because before the earthquake no one knew whether his prediction was right or not.
Someone may believe that it's a case involving human life, so the authorities should have paid more attention to his prediction. However, those friends may not know there are hundreds and thousands of such kind of prediction. it's not easy for the authorities to pick the valuable out of vast information.

作者:后台操作 发布于 2008-5-15 0:21:34
让政治需要下地狱吧!

Author: Background Operation Posted on 2008-5-15 0:21:34
To hell with political needs!

作者:李三来也 发布于 2008-5-15 3:28:16
如真有此事,地震局长应送交法办!

If the thing is true, the head of the Earthquake Administration should be handed over to the justice!

Comments on Tianya:

作者:中国结3 发布于 2008-5-14 11:13
如果地震局的领导有一丝人性的话 这样的预报至少也应该引起他的一些重视吧 密而不发 他居心何在!!让他去和温总理一起到四川 去挖那些遇难者!!

Author: Chinese Knot 3 Posted on 2008-5-14 11:13
If the head of the Earthquake Administration still had a little humanity, at least he should have paid some attention to the prediction, but he just kept it as secret. What was he up to!! Let him go to Sichuan with Premier Wen and unearth those victims.

作者:游客 发表于 2008-5-14 12:04
国家作了自己该做的事情,可是地震局是否履行了自己的职责?是否存在失职??国家是否应该追究???全国人民都在为温总理,为所有营救的官兵、医务人员、媒体工作者感到骄傲;为死难者感到悲哀的同时,那些玩忽职守的人,是否该去体验一下失去亲人的痛苦呢???
我不懂地震学,不知道上述人员是否是地震学的专家,如果是,那真是中国的一大悲哀。如果中国不重用人才,国将……

Author:Guest Posted on 2008-5-14 12:04
Our country is doing all that which is to be done, but whether the Earthquake Administration carried out their responsibilities? Is there a negligence of duty?? Should the authorities call the Earthquake Administration to account??? All the people are proud of Premier Wen, the rescue officers and soldiers, the medical personnel and the reporters; When those people who are negligent of their duties mourn for the dead, is it necessary to let them experience the bereaved family's feelings???
I have no idea of Seismology and I am not sure whether the person mentioned in the article is a Seismologist. If so, it's really a big woe of China. If China does not value talents, the country will…

作者:游客 发布于 2008-5-14 13:06
我觉得不是预测不出,也不是玩忽职守,而是怕负责任。如果预测的地震确实发生了,那么算是立了一功。但是更多时候可能是预测不了那么准确,责任谁来负呢?从技术专家到行政首长,谁愿意承担这个风险呢?

Author:Guest Posted on 2008-5-14 12:04
I don't think it's a negligence of duty or problems of prediction capability, but a terrible fear of responsibilities. If the predicted earthquake occurs, the prediction become an honor, but more often the prediction will fail, and in that case who is going to be responsible for the failure? From the technical experts to the chief executive, who is willing to take the risks?

作者:游客 发布于 2008-5-16 3:46
这些是地震一发生,我就产生的疑问了.地震局的相关人员还在打太极,说什么不能预报,不能预警.
狗屁,那要这个地震局是干啥的,就是为了测已经发生的地震的级数的吗
我们可怜的中国老百姓!!!!!那么多幼小的生命!!!!!!!

Author:Guest Posted on 008-5-16 3:46
I was in doubt about the earthquake at very beginning. The officials of Earthquake Administration are still practicing Tai chi chuan, prevaricating with a excuse that prediction and early warning are impossible. Bullshit!The work of this Earthquake Administration is only to measure the quake magnitude?
Poor Chinese!!!!! We have lost so many little lives!!!!!!!

25 comments

  • I would guess that someone out there with some ability predicts an earthquake for nearly every month. I am just not sure the government can be expected to react strongly to each of these or be blamed for not having done so.

  • Earthquake prediction is simply not possible on the level implied in this post and to suggest otherwise is way beyond irresponsible. Seismologists can only give the probability of a quake of a certain magnitude hitting a certain area within the next 50 to 100 years. Please dump all the superstitious un-scientific nonsense where it belongs and stick with the facts. Nobody could possibly have predicted the Wenchuan quake. It’s that simple.

  • Claude

    I don’t think there is anyone who can predict earthquake, And this persion is nothing but a ‘famous’ pseudo-scientist. The area he predicted is still 300km away from the spot, 8 times bigger than the actual area.

  • To Meng Zhang

    Mend Zhang:

    I have a slight favor / suggestion to ask of you. The articles mentioned in the blog above do exist, but could you dig up those articles and published their STATISTICAL RESULTS, particularly, the ones below.

    “Greng Qing-guo, The Study of the Relationship Between Drought and Earthquake in China, Chinese Oceanological Press, Beijing.”

    And this one also.

    “Tang Mao-cang & Hu Zong-hai, A statstical analysis of annual precipitation affected by destructive earthquake, Northwestern Seismological Journal (in Chinese), 12 (1990) , No. 1.”

    The STATISTICAL RESULTS that would be of a particular interest are:

    1. What was the method / procedure of analysis? Correlation, statistical regression, time series analysis, factor analysis, computational modeling, etc.

    2. If they used Correlation analysis, could you find out what the correlation coefficients were?

    3. If they used statistical regression, could you find out what were all of the variables they used for their regression model? And what was the R-square for their full regression models? Or better yet, what the partial R-squares were for all the variables related to precipitation (rain fall).

    4. It they used time series analysis, factor analysis, computational modeling, or other more advance statistical procedures, just let us know b/c the math may get to complicated.

    If you can get the numbers for 1-3, we would greatly appreciate it.

    The reason that those numbers are important is that they allow us to gauge the strength of the relationship between droughts and earthquakes. That is, whether they are WEAKLY relates, MODERATELY so, or STRONGLY.

    And if they use that relationship for prediction, we can, thus, gauge what the power of prediction is. That is, how strongly one variable (like drought) predicts the occurrence of another (like earthquakes).

    It is this kind of information that we have to use to evaluate how credible an earthquake prediction is. Especially, when people make the STRONG claim that earthquakes can be predicted with a degree of accuracy and reliability.

    So, let us know if you are able to dig up those statistical numbers, okay.

    Best
    Kain

  • Dear Kain:

    Thank you for your scientific skepticism.

    Let me first say I have never meant to proclaim the hypothesis in Mr. Li’s blog or in any way try to preach Geng Qingguo’s earthquake prediction.

    The only reason I translate this blog article is because it is being widely spread among the Chinese netizens. I’m not a scientist, so what I know about Geng’s theory is absolutely not more than you, and to explain or translate Geng’s theory is really beyond my reach.

    GVO is a media project mainly covering global conversations online, especially the blogosphere. As an author, I can not and should not judge the material instead of our readers with discerning eyes. What I can only do is to try my best to reflect the popular blogs or controversial topics among the Chinese netizens. That means the blogs or comments translated in my post are not always “right” or “wrong”, but only represent a phenomenon happening in the Chinese net world.

    What’s more, no one is capable to reflect all the opinions in one post, and that’s why we provide a comment section here. When the blogs or comments translated here appear unreasonable or biased to you, you are very welcomed to leave your own comments to correct and balance the ideas quoted in the post.

    Please take note that the views of the blogs and comments translated in the post do not represent the GV author’s opinion, but only a partial description of the Chinese net world. Although we will try our best to reflect as many Chinese netizens’ views as possible, without your illuminating comments, the post can never be really completed.

    Sincerely
    Meng

  • Matt Y.

    If there was ever such a thing like predicting an earthquake… Well, forget it. I don’t study seismology so probably I have no say here – but the vast loss of lives was just such a painful thing to stand.

    I still have some relatives and friends in Sichuan, luckily they are all safe. The aftershocks still come now and then, with around 200 or so above R-level 4.

    It’s such an agonising period for us who have the loved ones still in Sichuan.

  • subjectivelistener

    The underlying statement of this blog is that Chinese government should have paid sufficient attention to those scientists.

    Maybe they should. And I believe they are more than serious to know how to do a better job of prediction, if they can.

    However, it is not the right time to talk about all these. It simply adds more confusion and frustration.

    When you have a crisis, first time is to settle the crisis, then, analyze what can be done better.

    Not a right time topic. Dude.

  • Sonagi

    I am surprised by the skepticism towards Li Shihui’s claims. Have people forgotten the lesson of Qinglong County in 1976? Following up on a general prediction in 1974, a specific prediction with a time frame from late July to early August 1976 was made about two weeks before the Tangshan Earthquake. What impresses me most about the Qinglong story is how local officials coordinated effectively a cooperative effort among members of the community, including students, to prepare and monitor natural conditions.

    It is at the very least a strange coincidence that the Sichuan Provincial Government posted prior to and then deleted afterwards a message refuting rumors of a massive quake epicentered in Barkam County.

    I understand why people might feel this is not the right time, but it is important for relevant information to be published while people’s memories are fresh.

    This controversy reminds me of the 2004 tsunami. People with TVs and radios died in their homes while seafaring peoples of coastal Myanmar survived because they recognized the signs of an impending large wave and took the right precautions. Ordinary people are not qualified to analyze statistical results, but we can learn to observe nature. That is how humans have survived for hundreds of thousands of years.

    I would also like to add that on a personal level, what has touched me the most about the coverage of the earthquake has been the heartwrenching images of children being pulled out of collapsed layers of concrete. Many of these children leave no siblings to care for and comfort parents whose grief is inconsolable.

  • li

    真缺德 !!!在这种抢救人命,抗震救灾的关键时候炒作自己!!!
    有本事现在把余震的时间和级别预测出来让大家看看

  • wanglius

    well as you mentioned the qinglong case, i would like to count that one as no more than luck. the qing long government did save lots of precious lives in tangshan earthquake, that was good. but it’s not fair to require government of every single conuty, or even province, or even a state to act as they did. would you imagine if the qinglong government kept every citizen on high tension for a dozen of days or even for a month but the earthquake NEVER occured? anyway it was some probability problem and it could have been that way. and would you imagine if the scale is enlarged so not a county but a province of nearly 100MILLION people living in panic because of an “Earthquake that probabaly never comes”

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