Right day, wrong peninsula

Lunghu knows something about the perils of seismic prognostication, so he entirely sympathizes with the late Raffaele Bendandi.  This is the “self-taught Italian seismologist” who  –decades in advance(!)–  predicted that a cataclysmic earthquake would strike Rome on May 11, 2011.

[Bendandi] believed earthquakes were the result of the combined movements of the planets, the moon and the sun. … In 1923 he forecast a quake would hit the central Adriatic region of the Marches on January 2 the following year.  He was wrong by two days but his nearly precise prediction won him the nickname “earthquake predictor” in the media.

Naysayers, including those who uncharitably characterize Bendandi as a “pseudoscientist” or “self-proclaimed scientist,” predictably scoffed at the purported prophecy.  In the run-up to May 11, skeptical U.S. media relied on authoritative expertise to debunk the Bendandi prediction:

Tom Parsons, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) noted that “A lot of things have been tried [for earthquake prediction] … but none of these have turned out to be reliable.”

Of course, predicting an earthquake on any given day is a fairly certain proposition when you’ve got the entire globe to work with.   It’s a bit like claiming that a shooting will occur on a particular hot summer day in Newark, NJ:  it’s just about bound to happen somewhere, sometime during that 24 hour period.   So really, the “only” difficult aspect of the earthquake prediction business is the specific combination of timing and location, location, location.   No problem!

source: El Pais

So, can the shade of Bendandi claim vindication with Wednesday’s earthquake in Lorca, Espana?   Perhaps it’s too early to tell:  it might be wiser to adopt a wait-and-see attitude …

Another [modern-day] faction of Bendani’s disciples said Bendani had never pinpointed May 11, 2011 as the date for the big one.  [Instead,] they said that according to the positions of the planets, the actual earthquake [that will devastate Rome] would occur on April 6, 2521.

Be sure to let me know how that turns out.

credit: Pedro Almestre

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