Recently this year in France, a team of researchers conducted an experiment with seismic waves, and were able to slightly deflect them. Could this be the start of a new age in which we can avoid catastrophic earthquakes and maybe even tsunamis? It's quite the possibility.
Using "cloaking" devices and meta materials, the researchers hope to someday cloak "desired" or important geological areas with the cloaking material, to fend off (reflect, to be specific) seismic waves, therefore significantly reducing any damage to the area. The cloak would in theory deflect the waves to a sparsely populated direction, where the waves could die off without causing harm.
The actual cloaking device is a simple grid, that, when seismic waves enter its area, diffract the waves into smaller ones and change their direction simultaneously. A simple idea, but with genius results.
The idea has its issues...of course, we must face the question of "where".
For instance, say that a grid system has been installed around the whole area of NYC. An earthquake happens off shore, sending massive amounts of seismic waves to the shore. The grids than diffract and deflect the waves. What could then be the issue? Simply put, some of the waves would reflect back and end up constructively interfering with each other, sending a huge seismic wave somewhere else. Unlikely, but certainly possible. If these issues are addressed, the fatalities and dangers of earthquakes may be able to be reduced.