- © 2014 by the Seismological Society of America
On 6 April 2009, an Mw 6.2 earthquake struck beneath the city of L’Aquila, central Italy. The shock created significant damage and caused more than 300 deaths in the city and environs. The event followed a seismic sequence that started at the beginning of the year, with its largest shock of Mw 4.2 occurring on 30 March. The 6 April earthquake became infamous worldwide because seven experts, who attended a Grandi Rischi Commission meeting on 31 March, were convicted of failing to properly warn the public about the possibility of the mainshock and were sentenced to six years in jail. A second trial is in process. We do not wish to further discuss this important case here (instead see Marzocchi, 2012 and the website http://processoaquila.wordpress.com/; last accessed June 2014); however, it illustrates the importance of providing authoritative scientific information about earthquake probabilities to the public and other users and serves as a catalyst for the scientific developments now underway in Italy.
Just after the event, the Italian Civil Protection nominated an International Commission on Earthquake Forecasting (ICEF) chaired by Thomas H. Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center; the other participants were Yun‐Tai Chen (China), Paolo Gasparini (Italy), Raul Madariaga (France), Ian Main (United Kingdom), Warner Marzocchi (Italy), Gerassimos Papadopoulos (Greece), Gennady Sobolev (Russia), Koshun Yamaoka (Japan), and Jochen Zschau (Germany). The commission had two main duties: (1) to report on the current state of knowledge of short‐term prediction and forecasting of tectonic earthquakes and (2) to indicate guidelines for utilization of possible forerunners of large earthquakes to drive civil protection actions, including the use of probabilistic seismic‐hazard analysis in the wake of a large earthquake. The report of the commission (Jordan et al., 2011) is available for free downloading (http://www.annalsofgeophysics.eu/index.php/annals/article/view/5350/5371; last accessed June 2014).
In addition …