Iben Browning

Iben Browning

The Courier-Journal Louisville, KY, July 19, 1991

Obituary: ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Iben Browning, who gained the nation's attention last year when he projected a major earthquake along the New Madrid fault, died yesterday. He was 73.

Browning, a climatologist, died of a heart attack in an Albuquerque hospital. He had lived in Sandia Park east of Albuquerque.

Browning's even-odds projection of the major quake in the Midwest in early December was criticized by geologists, who said it had no scientific basis. No quake occurred.

However, many residents along the fault left the area during the week that Browning projected the quake would hit, while others stockpiled food and supplies. Some schools canceled classes.

Police and rescue officials set up emergency headquarters and participated in mock rescues in anticipation of a major quake.

The New Madrid fault runs from Marked Tree, Ark., across southeastern Missouri to southern Illinois, and produces hundreds of small quakes every year, most of them barely felt. It is named for the Missouri town of New Madrid, about 140 miles south of St. Louis.

His nephew, Bob Pinto, said Browning didn't look for media attention.
"He did not seek it out and once he was in it, he didn't enjoy it at all," Pinto said.
Nelson Winkless, an Albuquerque consultant, said he hoped his longtime friend and associate wouldn't be remembered solely for the New Madrid forecast.
"He did a zillion things," Winkless said of Browning, who had worked in such diverse fields as artificial intelligence and bioengineering, and who held dozens of patents.

Browning is survived by his wife, Florence; daughter Evelyn Garriss of Sandia Park; and two grandchildren. His funeral will be tomorrow at French Mortuary in Albuquerque.

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