On April 13, 33 people on Awaji Island, Hyogo Prefecture were injured in a magnitude-6.3 earthquake. Japan is fairly accustomed to earthquakes, but the talking point surrounding this one if the fact that the time and place of the sizable tremor seem to have been predicted in advance.
The forecast came from an non-profit organization involved in efforts to predict earthquakes by monitoring changes in the number of atmospheric ions. Although the credibility of earthquake prediction by ions is as yet unconfirmed, a number of earthquake specialists have spoken positively of the development.
The Research Group on Earthquake Prediction via Atmospheric Ions measures the concentration of atmospheric ions at 17 spots across Japan, and issues an earthquake forecast in the case of sudden increases. This system is known as the Precursory quake-Information System, or PISCO.
On April 6, the measuring equipment in Minamiawaji City, Hyōgo Prefecture recorded a surge in ionic numbers from the usual level of below 1,000 per cubic centimeter to 12,000 ions per cubic centimeter. Based on their analysis of the data the following day, the organization announced their expectation of “ a magnitude-5 earthquake in Awaji Island”.
About a week later, on April 13, there was a magnitude-6.3 earthquake with its epicenter in the vicinity of Awaji Island. A scientific breakthrough or mere coincidence? For now the experts are still divided, but if confirmed this could be a major breakthrough in the as yet unsolvable puzzle of earthquake prediction.