Algeria Earthquake, May 21 2003

Earthquake in Rouiba, Algeria, Wednesday, May 21 2003. Algeria's worst earthquake in two decades killed more than 1,000 people, injured thousands and left thousands more homeless. Entire families were killed in the 6.8-magnitude quake, which was strongest about 60 miles east of the capital, Algiers.

Late Thursday, the official APS news agency said at least 1,092 were dead and 6,782 were injured. (By Saturday, reports indicated 1700 dead and still more expected, and over 7000 injured.) The earthquake was the most devastating to hit Algeria since a magnitude-7.1 quake struck west of the capital on Oct. 10, 1980, killing 2,500 people. The present quake, which struck at about 7:45 p.m. (18:45 GMT), cut electricity in some Algiers neighborhoods and sparked panic throughout the city. About 10 aftershocks rippled through the area in the following hours, though the city was calm by Thursday afternoon.

The formal prediction is for a period beginning an hour before the main tremblor, and continuing for three hours after the quake. The results for this period have Chisquare 14515 on 14400 df, with p = 0.248. Though the trend is not very persuasive statistically, it is positive, and does have a relatively strong slope beginning just after the main event.

Algeria Earthquake, May 21

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