An Italian court found six scientists guilty of manslaughter Monday for failing to predict the L’Aquila earthquake that killed more than 300 people in 2009, according to CNN.
The six scientists from the National Institute of Geophysical Volcanology (INGV) and the Civil Protection Agency were charged $10 million in damages.
Seismologists around the world expressed shock at the court’s decision noting that earthquakes are impossible to accurately predict.
David Oglesby, associate professor in Earth sciences of UC Riverside said that if scientists are held personally and legally responsible for making such predictions, fewer scientists would communicate their research.
Former seismologist of INGV, Domenico Giardi, said that the issue was bad communication, rather than a miscalculation.
The Italian geophysics institute said the ruling “threatens to undermine one of the cornerstones of scientific research: that of freedom of investigation, of open and transparent discussion and sharing of results.”