Earthquake Rumblings

Your February 18 article on earthquake science [page 15], which discussed the fallout from Iben Browning's prediction last fall of an earthquake in southeast Missouri, raises several issues that deserve further examination. One could legitimately argue that the media overplayed the affair. But I was stunned by geologist Max Wyss's contention that the media "did not bother to challenge or check the scientific validity of the forecast," and by his gratuitous remark that "reporters have to double

John Gever
Jun 9, 1991
Your February 18 article on earthquake science [page 15], which discussed the fallout from Iben Browning's prediction last fall of an earthquake in southeast Missouri, raises several issues that deserve further examination.

One could legitimately argue that the media overplayed the affair. But I was stunned by geologist Max Wyss's contention that the media "did not bother to challenge or check the scientific validity of the forecast," and by his gratuitous remark that "reporters have to double-check their sources."

The first of Wyss's remarks is simply nonsense. Almost every news account I saw or heard reported that Browning had no geological credentials. The second part shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how the press works. If I infer correctly, Wyss is suggesting that the media should have ignored Browning's forecast once they learned it was rejected by establishment geologists. However, it is not the media's job merely to present the "accepted"...

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