L’Aquila’s bizarre verdict reversed

Justice has finally been done. A few days ago, an appeals court in L’Aquila, Italy, acquitted six Italian scientists who were convicted of manslaughter and awarded a six-year jail term in October 2012 for failing to communicate to the public the risk of an earthquake striking L’Aquila. The scientists were part of the seven-member official … Continue reading L’Aquila’s bizarre verdict reversed


Earthquake: unpredictability is its middle name

Published in The Hindu on March 24, 2011 How safe are nuclear plants located in countries that have faults cutting across them or located close to tectonically active regions? How reliable and helpful is seismology (the science of earthquakes) in forecasting the probability of occurrence of damaging quakes? The 6.3 quake that struck Christchurch in … Continue reading Earthquake: unpredictability is its middle name

Editorial: L’Aquila, a bizarre indictment

Published in The Hindu on June 25, 2010 In what may go down in history as one of the more bizarre indictments of modern times, six Italian scientists and one government official could face charges of manslaughter for a failure to do something that science has no answer for. The provocation: the Commission for High … Continue reading Editorial: L’Aquila, a bizarre indictment

Editorial: Prediction gets tougher

Published in The Hindu on October 24, 2009 Despite years of unrelenting efforts, predicting earthquakes — the holy grail of seismology — has only got tougher. A series of high magnitude earthquakes that struck different parts of the globe in recent years has made scientists realise that rocks respond to strain and seismic waves in … Continue reading Editorial: Prediction gets tougher

Sumatra earthquake triggered quakes 8,000 km away

Published in The Hindu on October 15, 2009 Large earthquakes have been found to increase the chances of subsequent quakes across the globe. Apart from causing earthquake and tsunami, the seismic waves from the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman quake, which had a magnitude of 9.1, led to weakening, and hence increasing the chances of failure of other … Continue reading Sumatra earthquake triggered quakes 8,000 km away