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Big Quakes Due for California & Israel

We recently wrote that a team of seismologists has discovered that microquakes in California?many of which can't even be felt?predict when a Big One is due. A team of scientists that has gotten earlier earthquake predictions right now expects a 6.4 magnitude or larger quake in the Southern California desert, somewhere between Mexico and Barstow, by Sept. 5. And the recent 4.5 quake in Israel leads seismologists to predict a bigger one in the future. Past quakes there are described in the Bible, including one that may have occurred during the crucifixion.

Last June the team led by UCLA scientist Vladimir Keilis-Borok predicted a 6.4 or larger quake within nine months, based on microquakes in the area. Sure enough, a 6.5-magnitude quake hit near San Simeon, California in December. Now they say another Big One is due in early September. UCLA's John Vidale says, "It is not like predicting tornadoes in Kansas."

In The Desert Sun, Benjamin Spillman quotes Lucy Jones, of the U.S. Geological Survey?s Southern California office, as saying, "Good old K. B. seems to have done it. If he gets this one right, I think there will be a strong feeling that it goes beyond random luck."

Will California be prepared this time? Disaster preparedness trainer Carol Camelot says, "I think people are fearful, that leads to denial. Unfortunately, that doesn't make it go away."

Israel's national seismology institute says, "Statistically, a major earthquake which could leave up to 10,000 dead should take place in around 50 years." The Jerusalem Post quoted a report by seismology experts to the government saying, "The area is an ecological disaster just waiting to happen." Their institute of geophysics reports that hundreds of people were killed in an earthquake in 1927 along the same fault that registered 6.2 on the Richter scale. But that's not the earliest report of a quake in the area. The Jewish historian Flavius Joseph, who wrote during the time of Jesus, said that in 31 BC, 30,000 people died in a quake in the same region.

Earthquakes are mentioned in the Bible. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which are located along the same fault, may have been destroyed by a quake. The prophet Ezekiel predicted "a great shaking in the land of Israel." According to Matthew 27:51-54, right after Jesus died on the cross, "the earth shook and the rocks were split," and a Roman centurion, as well as other onlookers, "saw the earthquake."

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