Preface to the Special Issue on Earthquake Precursors


“Are earthquakes predictable?” is a question hotly debated in the earthquake science community for some time. Its answer begs for another question “Are there credible earthquake precursors?” After the disastrous 1995 Kobe earthquake, the former Science and Technology Agency (STA) of Japanese Government sponsored, in response to these questions, an Integrated Earthquake Frontier Project. Two institutions, the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) were asked to carry out for five years feasibility studies on possible use of electromagnetic phenomena for short-term earthquake prediction. Since 1996 the RIKEN group formed the International Frontier Research Project on Earthquakes (IFREQ) to study earth electric current and related phenomena. Meanwhile, the NASDA team formed the Earthquake Remote Sensing Frontier Project to perform an overall study of seismo-electromagnetic phenomena occurring in the lithosphere, atmosphere and ionosphere.

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