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RECOMMENDATIONS The primary purpose of this report, as stated in the Preface, is to review the state-of-the-art and the future outlook of earthquake pre- diction. The Panel had no initial intention to make specific recommen- dations, and in particular to make recommendations with respect to funding. When the study was completed, however, it was apparent to the Panel that four areas are of sufficient urgency that such recommendations are needed now and should be acted on without delay. They are: l. The United States should now make a national commitment to a long-term program aimed at developing a reliable and effective opera- tional earthquake-prediction capability. Based on an assessment of worldwide observations and findings over the past few years it is the Panel's unanimous opinion that the develop- ment of an effective earthquake-prediction capability is an achievable goal. In recent years, several isolated earthquakes have been success- fully predicted by scientific criteria. These results and other studies indicate that with appropriate commitment and level of effort, the routine announcement of reliable predictions may be possible within l0 years in well-instrumented areas, although very large earthquakes may present a particularly difficult problem. A truly effective national program will require a significant increase to several times the current annual expenditures for prediction research. If the l0-year research effort is successful, subsequent implementation of the resulting earthquake-prediction capability, for all seismic areas of the United States and on a continuing basis, will require a comparable national commitment. 2. A representative group of competent scientists should be formed now to advise the federal government at the highest levels on the progress and needs of its earthquake-prediction program. United States research in earthquake prediction now looks so promis- ing, and its social consequences are potentially so profound, that an advisory unit should be established to provide advice about the progress and needs of the effort to the highest levels in the federal government, preferably directly to the Executive Office of the President, i.e., to
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the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Such a group, made up of non-governmental scientists, would report periodically on the status of the total U.S. earthquake-prediction effort, identify gaps and overlaps in the national research program, advise on the es- tablishment of an earthquake-warning procedure, and maintain a broad overview of the program's needs and funding. 3. A formal procedure should now be established for evaluation of earthquake predictions and for advising relevant agencies and groups concerning their validity. Predictions are now being put forth by various groups—formally or informally—and responsible public officials and agencies are becoming concerned as to how to evaluate these predictions and react to them. The Panel believes that the time has come for a formal body to be created to evaluate all such earthquake predictions. The purpose of such a body should not be to censor or restrict individuals and organi- zations in the making of responsible predictions, or to make predictions itself, but to serve as the filter between those who issue predictions and those who are obliged to react to them. Such a procedure would encourage responsibility among prediction makers since all predictions would be subject to thorough and systematic scrutiny by their scientific colleagues. In view of the tremendous responsibilities of such a body and the potentially profound impact of its judgments, it should be broadly representative of the seismological community. Representatives of concerned public agencies should be encouraged to attend its meetings as observers. An evaluation group of this type, made up of scientists from a variety of institutions and agencies, has already been established in the State of California. 4. Research, planning, and development both of an integrated opera- tional prediction capability and of an effective social-response capa- bility should be carried out concurrently and in coordination. Consideration of social-response problems should be given priority comparable to that of developing prediction technology. If this is not done, we may learn how to predict earthquakes before we know what to do with the predictions when we get them. To avoid this unacceptable cir- cumstance, we must mount a research and planning effort of major scope, closely integrated with the scientific and technical development of prediction capability. The effort must be problem-oriented and highly interdisciplinary: many issues require the attention of sociologists, social psychologists, lawyers, political scientists, organization theorists, experts on command and control, and experts from other disci- plines. In the final operational earthquake-warning-and-response system, an authoritative scientific and technical prediction capability and an effective social response capability will be equally important.