Dr. Lucile Jones

* Regarding the letter March 15 discussing Dr. Lucile Jones' testimony in Washington and the "missing" quakes:

Jones' comments on the normal aftershock series in the Northridge quake are not in conflict with comments regarding future quake risks in Southern California. Everything she has stated in regard to the "missing" quakes is quite consistent with her other public comments.

Discussing solely the existing and expected aftershock sequence of a particular quake in a particular locale in no way implies the level of seismic risk (or lack of it) for the entire Los Angeles Basin or on a distinctly different fault.

In this case too little knowledge apparently has confused the reader's understanding. The reader's confusion leads her to describe what she believes to be inconsistencies in Jones' statements. I disagree. Knowledge about the seismic risks in our area has advanced tremendously in the last 10 years, and what is known is readily available to those who are willing to relinquish their denial.

It particularly troubles me that an accusing finger has been pointed at such a dedicated, forthright and refreshingly honest scientist like Jones, who seems strikingly candid and is always quick to point out the limits of current knowledge in this growing scientific field of evidence.

The fact that there is no hard evidence that stress has been increased or decreased along the San Andreas fault does not mean we should be reassured. It simply means we cannot conclusively prove what every working scientist and earthquake professional know is coming: more and bigger quakes.



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