Scientists defend Calif. quake warning

October 23, 1992|By Los Angeles Daily News

PARKFIELD, Calif. -- The state's first earthquake alert expired without a big rumble, but officials said the warning had been a valuable exercise even though a major earthquake didn't hit.

Seismologists and state emergency officials who had predicted a quake of magnitude 5.5 to 6.0 by last night defended the decision to issue an earthquake warning on Monday, after a 4.7 quake rumbled through Parkfield.

The warning predicted a 33 percent chance of a strong earthquake within 72 hours of Monday night's shaker.

"The likelihood of false alarms was very real and very expected," Richard Andrews, director of the Office of Emergency Services, said at a news conference yesterday.

"But we feel that in California, the stakes from the earthquake risk are so high it's worth proceeding [with a public warning]," he said.

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