December 1, 2011
by John Vidale
Tuesday, it was announced that three West Coast universities, UW, Caltech, and Berkeley, will split $6M to allow a big step forward in the science and implementation of earthquake early warning.
The March 2011 earthquake in Japan, despite its tremendous costs, has shown clearly the value of a new line of defense against natural distasters. Seismometers detected the earthquake with seconds, automatic computer programs estimated the shaking that it would soon produce, and people received warning seconds to minutes before the shaking arrived.
The warnings were broadcast on TV. EEW systems have been installed or are being tested many places around the world. The figure (Allen et al., SRL, 2009) shows the status of EEW systems two years ago.
There are many ways earthquake early warning could be used on the west coast - slowing traffic, clearing vulnerable structures such as large bridges and viaducts, giving people a heads-up. Perhaps a subtle but important benefit is for people to immediately realize most bumps and noises are NOT the sound of the start of a nasty earthquake.
There is already at least one structure wired for early warning in Seattle - the Alaska Way Viaduct - whose gates will close at the beginning of strong shaking, but a more extensive system wired to seismometers closer to the faults on the coast could perform better.
Such a system would be costly - roughly $60M and $6M/yr to install and operate. With the new grant, we would build much less than the full system. So far we are still puzzling over the myriad details that would need to be done right for a reliable, accurate, widely available, and properly used system. This site has more details focused on California.
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- Legacy web site content returns
- Ice avalanches on Cascade volcanoes
- A New View On What's Shaking on the Cascade Volcanoes
- Seismic Spectrograms - A new way to look at wiggles
- The final football game analysis
- The Football Game Experiment Continues
- Seismic Game Analysis
- PNSN Earth-shaking Seahawks Experiment
- Large Mount Baker debris Avalanche this fall
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- The wech-o-meter takes over all of Cascadia
- Keystone Cops: Italy prosecutes seismologists for failure to predict deadly quake
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- Mount Hood earthquake swarm of Feb 23, 2012
- Web glitches: duplicate (and even triplicate!) earthquakes
- How earthquake magnitude scales work
- Mine blast masquerades as volcanic tremor
- The Spokane Swarm about 10 years ago
- Another hum around Mount St. Helens
- Slow slip: A new kind of earthquake under our feet
- PNSN and social media
- 3am M3.4 earthquake in St. Helens Seismic Zone
- The wrong kind of volcano noise
- Fast chatter on Rainier an hour ago
- Can slush-mageddon trigger earthquakes?
- Rainier Repeating Earthquakes Update and Comparison with Weather Patterns
- 22-minutes drumbeat icequakes(?)
- Mount Rainier popping away
- Repeating Earthquakes on Mount Rainier - are glaciers the culprit?
- Debunking another SEC football myth by the PAC-12
- One year ago, Seattle Seahawks 12th Man Earthquake
- The odds this year of a megaquake on the Pacific Northwest coast
- Is the plague of great earthquakes this decade a sign of increased danger?
- Nile Valley landslide talks to PNSN seismologists
- Good vs evil in central US earthquake hazard analysis
- Why does a volcano scream?
- Predicting big quakes from patterns of little ones
- 1-hour warning for Japanese M9 earthquake?
- Sound Transit train under Interlaken keeps a rollin'
- Invisible changes under the hood at the PNSN
- Sound Transit Tunneling Noise
- "Visionary" toads
- Earthquake early warning in the PNW
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