Quakes

Say what? Italy convicts scientists for not warning of killer quake

aquila-earthquake-damage.jpgAn Italian court on Monday found six scientists and an official guilty of manslaughter for failing to properly warn residents about the risk of an impending earthquake that killed more than 300 people in 2009. Each of the defendants was sentenced to six years in prison, but the sentences are not carried out until affirmed on appeal. “I don’t even understand what I am accused of,” said Enzo Boschi, former head of Italy's National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology.

"It's a sad day for science," said seismologist Susan Hough of the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena.

"We know that the system in Italy for communicating risk before the L'Aquila earthquake was flawed, but this verdict will cast a pall over any attempt to set up a better one. I'm afraid that many scientists are learning to keep their mouths shut," said Thomas Jordan, an earth scientist at USC and the director of the Southern California Earthquake Center. "This won't help those of us who are trying to improve how risks from natural hazards are communicated between scientists and the public."

AP, BBC, LAT, NBC

Photo: Quake damage in the medieval city of L'Aquila. Franco Volpato / Shutterstock


More by Kevin Roderick:
LA Observed Notes: 60 Minutes, selling the Coliseum and more
Gil Cedillo, Nick Melvoin win LA runoffs*
LA Observed Notes: Baca goes down, LAX shuffle, media moves
LA Observed Notes: Big TV news, media moves, obits and more
LA Observed Notes: Writers on the verge, Fox, the riots and more
Recent Quakes stories on LA Observed:
Lucy Jones is retiring from USGS and quakes
Our big tsunami will come direct from Alaska
No, there is *not* a 99.9% chance of an LA earthquake
Seattle's Really Big One will be bigger than SoCal's Big One
Lucy Jones watches 'San Andreas' so you don't have to
LA firefighters and dogs return from Nepal (video)
LA firefighters help rescue boy alive from Nepal rubble
LA County's Task Force 2 deploys to Nepal quake zone


 

LA Observed on Twitter