There is no way to predict an individual earthquake. Earthquakes occur when potential energy stored along cracks in the planet's crust gets released, sending seismic waves through the Earth.
Since scientists know where those cracks exist, and how they are likely to convulse, they can develop forecasts of the general threat for an area. But the forces that contribute to this energy buildup and trigger its release are global and complex, and we still cannot sort out exactly how it might unfold.
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