Italian Scientists on Trial for Not Predicting the Unpredictable Earthquake


The Italians seem to be looking for a scapegoat by over-criminalizing something that shouldn’t even be a crime. Seven scientists and other experts are on trial for manslaughter in Rome because they didn’t warn residents about the 2009 earthquake that killed over 300 people in Italy. Six months before there were tremors and the prosecutors claim this qualifies as a warning.

Seismologists around the world are concerned since earthquakes cannot be accurately predicted. If a case like this is won, how can anyone expect a scientist to ever predict anything? At least they won’t in Italy.

The defendants are accused of giving “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information” about the smaller tremors felt by L’Aquila residents six months before the quake, which they are saying would have been a quake warning.

“If the public decides to make scientists accountable through fines or jail terms for their announcements regarding natural hazard risks, the scientists will respond by not saying anything, and possibly by moving their research into areas where they are not as likely to encounter such uncertainty. Therefore, the public will lose out.”

She said the situation was also not helped by non-scientists who claimed to be able to “predict” earthquakes.

Scientists and their international colleagues say there is no way of predicting a quake.

“It’s impossible to predict earthquakes so it doesn’t seem right to charge them for failing to predict anything when there is nothing they can predict,” GNS seismologist John Ristau said.

He said he signed the petition “to basically say this is ridiculous”. Read here: