Earthquake Prediction: Could We Ever Forecast the Next Big One?

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I traveled to Japan recently with PBS NewsHour science correspondent Miles O'Brien, and helped shoot and produce a series of stories related to the March 11 disasters: earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis. The first of those stories from Miles aired last night: on "the elusive science of earthquake prediction -- whether seismologists will ever be able to predict an earthquake with any certainty -- and how far they've come in Japan come toward making that a reality."

Read the story transcript here.

Statue outside civil defense and emergency preparedness center, Tokyo, August 2011

Coincidentally, this piece aired on the same day hundreds of cities on the U.S. West Coast took part in the 2011 Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill —and the same day as first one, then another moderate but jarring quake hit the San Francisco Bay Area. Twitter was all aflutter.

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The "war room" at the Japan Meteorological Agency. This is ground zero for Japan's national earthquake early warning system.

While in Tokyo, Miles talked to NewsHour host Hari Sreenivasan about a little-known, but comparable precedent to the March tsunami, how Japanese are uniquely approaching the effort to rebuild tsunami-devastated areas, and their changing approach to nuclear energy in the wake of the disaster.

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photo.JPG Children in earthquake simulation center drill, Tokyo, August 2011

(Photos in this post: iPhone snapshots, Xeni Jardin.)