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Friday, October 1, 2010

Earthquake Fails to Level L.A. -- Man Now Claims It'll Happen Today

Posted By on Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 8:45 AM

click to enlarge There's a 100 percent chance San Francisco will be hit by a quake -- in 1906
  • There's a 100 percent chance San Francisco will be hit by a quake -- in 1906
The proprietor of a pseudoscientific quake prediction website who claimed a 98 percent chance Los Angeles would be hit with a 7.0 magnitude quake yesterday -- which didn't happen -- is now pledging a 97 percent chance it'll happen today.

Florida-based Luke Thomas caused an Internet firestorm with his initial prediction. Barring a major quake today -- and he has the chutzpah to claim yesterday's 2.1 L.A. temblor was a "foreshock" -- the self-anointed quake whisperer will be the latest iteration of the boy who cried wolf.

Thomas claims the "main method we use to make our earthquake forecasts is based on thermal temperature changes caused by kinetic frictional heating of the tectonic plates." This is interesting, as the plates causing earthquakes are miles beneath the surface -- and heat emanating from within the earth is not the cause of hot weather.

He also utilizes "Moon phases; Animal behaviour (sic); Human behaviour (sic); Satellite earthquake clouds; Water temperature changes; and other arcane studies.

U.C. Santa Cruz professor of seismology Emily Brodsky told SF Weekly that most of these methods have been studied -- and discarded -- by real scientists. "None of them have shown to be robust. If we knew how to predict earthquakes, I'd be pretty excited. Unfortunately, it's not something we know how to do at this stage."

In any event, if L.A. isn't leveled today, Thomas insists there's a 71 percent chance it'll happen tomorrow. And a 38 percent chance for Sunday. His methodology, it seems, is derived from the great line in the movie Anchorman: "They've done studies, you know. Sixty percent of the time, it works every time."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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