Scientists debate whether electromagntic signals precede earthquakes

Researchers have long searched for natural signals that might warn of impending earthquakes, but so far, they haven’t found anything reliable. However, a small group of researchers are studying electromagnetic signals that appear to precede major earthquakes in hopes that they may one day be used for earthquake prediction. Learn more about the approach–and criticism by seismologists–in my story for Science.

Researchers observed electromagnetic anomalies before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, leaving towns like Ofunato, above, in ruins. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Matthew M. Bradley/Released)