A serious social problem helps devastating earthquakes

- May 18, 2008 -


An M7.9 earthquake happened at 31.10N and 103.28E in Wen-Chuan, Sichuan, China at 6:28 (UTC) on May 12, 2008 [1] and killed 40,075 people and injured 247,645.  I would like to express my great sadness and condolence to those victims and their relatives. Many people wrote me. I thank them for their strong belief in and notice to my work. I would like to reveal my bitterness due to a social problem and the cloud as an open response.


Although the United Nations published my paper “Bam Earthquake Prediction & Space Technology” into its yearbook  [2] and shared the book to its all members during the 42nd Session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee in Vienna from 21 Feb. 2005 to 4 Mar., the serious satellite data problems and the large earthquake data problems I mentioned have not been solved. I was eager to walk up the society to solve those problems, so all large earthquakes would be able to be predicted exactly in a circle of 20 km and a magnitude error +/- 0.2. Due to a social problem, my effort has not been successful. Moreover, I have health problems and have to take care of my little grandson, Thus, I have stopped to predict earthquakes since Sept. 27, 2007[3]. Now, let me reveal the social problem.

In Sept. 2004, the National Geographic organized a film competition in Singapore. One week before it, the Indian Miditech TV Company wrote me for a 4-minute-tape of my work in hurry. I did it, by which the company won a fund for a one-hour film called "Chase Earthquake". I was very happy and prepared a 73-page PowerPoint for it to wake up governments. However, the company had a plan to shoot various predictors in American, India and China, and gave me about 4 minutes in the film. I told them that the Nature Debates in 1999 had denied all those widely studied precursors, and I could not show my work in so little time, but they insisted in their way. Therefore, I had to reject the shoot [4].

In Apr. 2006, I was invited to introduce my work to the scientists of the Disaster Prediction Committee of China, the Analysis and Predicting Center of the Chinese Seismological Bureau, and the Geological Institute of the Chinese Seismological Bureau in Beijing, and received great comments. The 73-page PowerPoint was widely admired.  Chinese Scientific Academe Member Jing Ma, who was misunderstood as the most picky scientist against any predictor, nodded and admired, “Right”, “Right”, “Right” continuously. The PowerPoint was copied by many scientists of the institute. After I came back to my hometown Hangzhou, Senior Seismologist Zuji Qiang of the institute called me to explain that he had been in a hospital just during my lecture. He heard about my exciting lecture from many his colleagues, and he was going to come to visit me home. Later, he really came and high admired my work. By the PowerPoint, I suggested governments using 0.01% of their earthquake budgets to solve satellite data problems and earthquake data problems, so all large earthquakes would be able to pinpoint out in a circle of a radius of 20 km even less and a magnitude error of +/- 0.2. I also wrote the director of the Chinese Seismological Bureau with my paper “Bam Earthquake Prediction & Space Technology” and requested him to solve those data problems to save people. However, he ignored my request. I also publish my suggestion and posted it in our web site [5], but no one noticed it. 

           In the USA, Dr. Alan Jones put his “Fair Review” out to attack me under many witnesses, but failed after my defense in 2007 [6].  Three doctors urge the editor of the Seismological Research Letter to publish my paper. Unfortunately, she was not the editor anymore. As a result, my effort to solve those data problems by publishing the paper failed. Moreover, Gerstenberger, M.C. et al. claim, “Despite a lack of reliable deterministic earthquake precursors” without evidence to deny my work in Nature and boasted “Real-time forecasts of tomorrow’s earthquakes in California”. Their paper is wrong for it has neither a model to explain essential earthquake phenomena e.g. the Bam cloud in theory, nor statistical significant predictions to demonstrate its reliability in practice. Moreover, terms of foreshock and aftershock do not have scientific definitions [7]. Their paper confuses people and is publication pollution. 

           In 1994, I applied a fund from the USA, but failed. One reason was no donation. Therefore, I appealed people for donation in our web site in 2002. A little people did it. A few people even insulted me. This fact implies that people seem not really to worry about earthquakes. It makes me feel ironic because I gave up a right to receive $2,000 I deserved for transforming my patent and a good opportunity for a technical consultant in 1994. I had separated with my dear wife for 12 years for my dream. I spent pity scholarship of my older daughter for living in the USA to do my research.  What did I receive? The above facts shows that a serious social problem helps devastating earthquakes

     Now, let me discuss the cloud people are interested in. After seeing the data of the USGS in the evening on May 12, I checked the cloud immediately, and found it from May 2 to 12. On May 14, a man claimed his earthquake cloud photos taken a month ago, but I declined. Later, a friend told me earthquake cloud photos on TV, taken by man from Shandong two days before the earthquake. I found the photos from a web site [8]. They have correct shapes and time with those I found from satellite image, so they are right. A prediction of M6 and above within two days by those clouds is correct, too, which proves earthquake clouds’ reliability, again. The following satellite image shows the exact epicenter [9] that makes me fell very sorry and upset because in this especial case, if governments had supported me a little fund to maintain my web site, I would have predicted this killer exactly to save many people.

           Finally, I would like to thank three Chinese people: Chen Xiao-Kun, Zhao Juan-Juan and Ye Shui-Zhen for their willingness to donate me thousand dollars each in 2006, but I did not accept it because those money might have been accumulated in their all lives, but to solve those problems needs much more money. 





  1. The Sichuan earthquake map by the USGS
  2. Darrell Harrington & Zhonghao Shou Bam Earthquake Prediction & Space Technology Seminars of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications16, 39-63 (2005).
  3. Note This website will take a long break Sept. 27, 2007
  4. Essay Trip in China (renew)* July 29, 2006
  5. Zhonghao Shou Precursor of the Largest Earthquake in the Last Forty Years New Concepts in Global Tectonics 41, 6-15 (2006).
  6. Essay Alan Jones’ “Fair Review”  August 21, 2007
  7. Gerstenberger, M.C., Wiemer, S, Jones, L.M., & Reasenberg, P.A., Real-time forecasts of tomorrow’s earthquakes in California. Nature 435, 328-331 (2005).
  8. Link of cloud photo
  9. The cloud in satellite image


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