There were no reports of serious casualties this time earthquakes hit New Zealand, except the faith of some of us who hoped a little too hard that our scientific prophecies of doom might go the way of Harold Camping's predictions.
Geoff Slone/New Zealand Herald/AP
Wellington, New Zealand
This has not been a great year for those in the business of predicting natural disasters – just ask Harold Camping, the Christian radio broadcaster who prophesied that the world as we know it would end last month.
Scientists in New Zealand, however, are (perhaps not so surprisingly) better at their predictions; though they might be ruing their talent in the wake of yet another spate of nasty temblors in this country’s second-largest city, radiating out across half of these shaky isles, including the desk in Wellington where these words are being gingerly typed.
Late last month, residents of Christchurch, already seriously frazzled by two major earthquakes and 6,000 aftershocks since last September, awoke to the news that the region’s GNS Science had set the chances of another quake in the next year at 1 in 4. Specifically, the organization had put the likelihood of a magnitude-6.0 or -7.0 earthquake over the next 12 months at 23 percent, with a 90 chance of a shake between 5.0 and 6.0.