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'Missing' Quakes

March 15, 1994

* In response to "Scientists Searching for 'Missing' Quakes," March 3:

Dr. Lucile Jones should have her knuckles rapped for testifying about Southern California earthquakes in Washington prior to sharing her information with the people of Southern California. Since Jan. 17, Jones has been very good about reassuring the people of Southern California: "This is a very normal series of aftershocks. There is no hard evidence that stress has been increased or decreased along the San Andreas fault."

But now we learn, not from a local press conference, but from coverage of a House subcommittee hearing, that our area is in for "at least five more earthquakes as large as the Northridge earthquake," or that "we are building up the stress to a much larger earthquake," or that faults are slipping without causing earthquakes (a phenomenon not yet observed in California).

I think that Jones has been speaking from two sides of her mouth: Southern Californians get reassurance, while congressmen get the true picture from her research. Her presentation to the subcommittee was a pitch for funding. And it was, simultaneously, an insult to the intelligence of Southern Californians.

LYNN ROSS

Pasadena

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