Scientist's Prediction of Italian Earthquake Was Dismissed by Officials

An Italian scientist predicted a deadly earthquake would strike L'Aquila, Italy, weeks before Monday's quake, but was muzzled by officials, Reuters reported.

Seismologist Gioacchino Giuliani was forced to take his findings off the Internet and was reported to police for "spreading alarm," according to Reuters.

Last month, vans with loudspeakers reportedly drove around L'Aquila telling residents to evacuate their houses.

Giuliani based his prediction on the levels of radon gas around seismically active areas.

But the head of the National Geophysics Institute downplayed Giuliani's prediction.

"Every time there is an earthquake there are people who claim to have predicted it," Enzo Boshci told Reuters. "As far as I know nobody predicted this earthquake with precision. It is not possible to predict earthquakes."

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