World Italian scientists on trial for failing to predict earthquake.

tom_mai78101

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Seven scientists and other experts are standing trial on manslaughter charges for allegedly failing to sufficiently warn residents before a devastating earthquake that killed more than 300 people in central Italy in 2009.

The case is being closely watched by seismologists around the world, who insist it is impossible to predict earthquakes and say no major tremor has ever been foretold.

Last year about 5,200 international researchers signed a petition supporting their Italian colleagues, and the Seismological Society of America wrote to Italy's president expressing concern about what it called an unprecedented legal attack on science.

The seven defendants are accused of giving "inexact, incomplete and contradictory information" about whether smaller tremors felt by L'Aquila residents in the six months before the quake, on 6 April 2009, should have constituted grounds for a quake warning.

 
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Wiseman_2

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Even if they felt small tremors there is no way on earth that they could have foreseen a major earthquake from it. There was every chance it could have lead to nothing, in which case they would be persecuted for creating a panic by putting out a warning. Besides, they should be aware of these inherent dangers in Italy, especially given their history with Volcanoes.
 

xPass

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An Earthquake is uncertain at times, our technology hasn't come to the stage where we'll know when an Earthquake is coming soon.
They shouldn't be tried in this case. :/
 

FireCat

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A warning for what? This guy has done absolutely nothing wrong.
First of all, It's a bizarre story there's no doubt about it
But It's always better to say "take precautions" than to say nothing to worry about. Right? And second Isn't predicting, detecting earthquakes their job?
 

Wiseman_2

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And second Isn't predicting, detecting earthquakes their job?
It is not possible to predict when a major earthquake could happen with any degree of accuracy necessary to issue a warning. For example, it is well known that San Francisco - which sits on the San Andreas fault - is overdue for a major (7.0+ on the Richter scale) earthquake anytime now, but we have no idea of a specific day, week or even year. Even if they did give some kind of warning, what would the warning be to do? Evacuate? It could be years before anything happens. No warning could have been issued that could have saved the lives of those people.
 

Varine

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It is not possible to predict when a major earthquake could happen with any degree of accuracy necessary to issue a warning. For example, it is well known that San Francisco - which sits on the San Andreas fault - is overdue for a major (7.0+ on the Richter scale) earthquake anytime now, but we have no idea of a specific day, week or even year. Even if they did give some kind of warning, what would the warning be to do? Evacuate? It could be years before anything happens. No warning could have been issued that could have saved the lives of those people.

They're also long overdue for a volcano I think.
 

Wiseman_2

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They're also long overdue for a volcano I think.
Yeah, Vesuvius is due any day/week/month now. Thing is, Volcanoes are slightly easier to see coming as they usually give some ominous warnings - steam venting, minor earthquakes, signs of magma building up. Last time it blew was in 1944 and obviously it wasn't exactly at the forefront of people's minds.
 

Varine

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Yeah, Vesuvius is due any day/week/month now. Thing is, Volcanoes are slightly easier to see coming as they usually give some ominous warnings - steam venting, minor earthquakes, signs of magma building up. Last time it blew was in 1944 and obviously it wasn't exactly at the forefront of people's minds.

Is there actually a volcano there? I was trying to make a joke... has to change it then; North Idaho is long overdue for a volcano. I believe one should be coming soon, as we haven't had one for... well I don't think we've ever had one, so surely based on such information I must make preparations.
 

Wiseman_2

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Is there actually a volcano there? I was trying to make a joke... has to change it then; North Idaho is long overdue for a volcano. I believe one should be coming soon, as we haven't had one for... well I don't think we've ever had one, so surely based on such information I must make preparations.
Better get down to the shelter then :p
(Jokes don't tend to come across very well on the internet unfortunately :rolleyes:)

But yeah, Italy is one of the most volcanically active countries in Europe. I have always had something of an interest in natural hazards, but unfortunately I've had little success at convincing my family that we should spend next summer vacation near Etna or Vesuvius :rolleyes:
 

Varine

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Better get down to the shelter then :p
(Jokes don't tend to come across very well on the internet unfortunately :rolleyes:)

But yeah, Italy is one of the most volcanically active countries in Europe. I have always had something of an interest in natural hazards, but unfortunately I've had little success at convincing my family that we should spend next summer vacation near Etna or Vesuvius :rolleyes:

Yeah... they really need sarcasm tags.
 

tom_mai78101

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Here's an update.

Seven-year legal saga ends as Italian official is cleared of manslaughter in earthquake trial​


ROME—The man accused of sending a group of scientists to the central Italian city of L'Aquila in 2009 to falsely reassure citizens that no major earthquake was about to strike has been cleared of manslaughter charges. Guido Bertolaso, who at the time was head of Italy's Civil Protection department, was acquitted by Judge Giuseppe Grieco on Friday on the grounds of "not having committed the crime." The verdict brings to an end 7 years of legal actions initiated by relatives of some of the 309 victims of the deadly earthquake that struck L'Aquila on 6 April 2009.

The trial of Bertolaso follows that of the scientists themselves—three seismologists, a volcanologist, two seismic engineers, and Bertolaso's deputy, Bernardo De Bernardinis—who all took part in a meeting of an official advisory committee held 6 days before the earthquake. The experts were prosecuted on manslaughter charges for having allegedly underestimated the risk posed by an ongoing series of small- and medium-sized tremors in and around L'Aquila, and of having given advice at the time of their meeting that led many people to stay indoors on the night of the deadly quake itself—and perish as a result.

That hugely controversial trial resulted in convictions and 6-year jail sentences for all seven scientists, but six of those convictions were overturned on appeal and then definitively quashed by Italy's supreme court last November. Only De Bernardinis had his conviction confirmed, albeit with a lesser 2-year sentence, which will remain suspended.

 
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