Earthquake prediction is a complex problem. However, what is urgently needed is a comprehensive multifaceted program for the reduction of the earthquake hazard.
It is, however, impossible to eliminate completely earthquakes and their related hazards, but serious researches will go a long way in the mitigation of its impact.
Scientists in the United States, Japan, Russia, and China firmly believe that they will be able to make long range, medium range and short range prediction for general locations and magnitudes of earthquakes in future.
Nevertheless, such a prediction will probably be many years before dependable short-range prediction is possible.
Such prediction is likely to be based on certain factors such as, previous patterns and frequency of earthquakes, abnormal changes in the stored strain of rocks, magnetic properties of rocks, and vertical or horizontal motion of rocks.
Besides, there are certain other critical factors such as, changes in the speed of seismic waves (P, L and L) through rocks, seismic gaps along active faults etc. Abnormal behaviour of animals is also a very important clue, which also may be helpful in the prediction of an earthquake.
Chinese scientists are credited to have made the first successful prediction of a major earthquake the Haicheng earthquake of February 4, 1976 with a magnitude of 7.3.
The lives of thousands of people were saved by the massive evacuation from unsafe housing just before the earthquake.
It is very interesting to learn that the Chinese seismologists based their prediction on abnormal animal behaviour before the occurrence of the earthquake. Let us hope that the sincere efforts and researches made in this direction will bear fruits in years to come.