We were as amazed as anyone to learn of the M5.8 earthquake that occurred in Virginia this morning! This just goes to show that earthquakes are incredibly unpredictable. BUT – we do believe we will find a way to make reliable FORECASTS of earthquakes days to weeks before they occur. We are all just starting to learn of the impact, such as damage to the National Cathedral spire. Thankfully, it appears so far that no one was seriously hurt. The offices of QuakeFinder’s parent company were shut, along with many others, in the immediate aftermath. And in a faint echo of this year’s disastrous Japanese quake, the North Anna nuclear plant in Virginia was shut down. No, QuakeFinder did not “see” the Virginia earthquake coming. Our network does not include locations on the East coast. To develop reliable forecasting methods we need to capture data for many more earthquakes. The best way to do this is to put our instruments in places that have earthquakes frequently, such as California and Peru. It will be a long time before we have sensors in places like Virginia that have earthquakes so rarely. Already there is lots of analysis and reporting of the event and probability that it would happen in this time and place. All of this will be of zero use to those who would have liked to know BEFORE the earthquake that one was imminent. Someday we’ll be able to provide that warning.