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California Earthquake Problems

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    We can't asses the damage by relating to a Richter magnitude, we would have to develop site & fault-specific indexes to be able to barely get close to what the extent of the damage to a certain structure could be. 
    As Kenneth put it, it's not the same if an EQ strikes in Alaska and my house is in South America as if it does in Chile, i.e, the fault (source of the event) and the site where the structure is are at least as important as the Richter magnitude.
    On the other hand, I'm not very sure about the scientists being able to predict (within a reasonable anticipation of the event so as to permit the spread of panic) the location and magnitude of an earthquake.
    Sounds like an  X-files episode to me :)
Rodrigo Lema.