Earthquake warning

shakealert.org

 

The new federal budget sent to the president's desk over the weekend includes $5 million for earthquake early warning along the West Coast.

The proposed early warning system can't predict earthquakes; it's designed to give a heads up about strong shaking coming from a distance. It works because electronic signals can travel faster than rumbling over the surface.

A prototype earthquake early warning system worked as designed when an actual quake gently shook California last Friday. Researchers reported the results Tuesday at the annual meeting of American seismologists.

Last year, a private foundation in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey gave a multimillion dollar grant to create an automated earthquake warning system for the Pacific Coast states.

The idea is to provide advance notice to prepare people for severe shaking. It could come via a cell phone alert or a pop-up on your computer or TV screen.

Bill Lascher / Northwest News Network

PORTLAND - The massive earthquake that struck Japan in March of this year devastated that country. But it could have caused even more damage if Japan didn’t have a high-tech early warning system. Now, Northwest scientists are beginning to install a network of sensors that could send out alerts when a megaquake is on its way. As journalist Bill Lascher found, North America’s first earthquake alert system would be more sophisticated than the one in Japan.