The Scarcity of Certainty
On the twenty-second of October, 2012, in Italy, six geophysicists and a government civil protection officer were sentenced to six years in prison on charges of manslaughter for underestimating the risk of a serious earthquake in the vicinity of the city of L’Aquila. Following several seismic shocks, the seven had met in committee on March 31, 2009, to consider the risk of a major earthquake. They recorded three main conclusions: that earthquakes are not predictable, that the L’Aquila region has the highest seismic risk in Italy, and that a large earthquake in the short term was unlikely. On April 6, a major earthquake struck with the loss of more than 300 lives.