Earthquakes: California could establish Early Warning System

A portion of the San Andreas Fault along the San Francisco Peninsula
Credits: NASA

The state of California could establish an $80 million early warning system for earthquakes. “Three weeks ago, the California Institute of Technology and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology published a study concluding for the first time that a statewide California earthquake involving both the Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas may be possible. This morning I introduced legislation to create a statewide earthquake early warning system,” said Californian Senator Alex Padilla at a press conference held in the Seismological Laboratory at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) on 28 January 2013.

Padilla, joined by a panel of seismologists representing Caltech, UC Berkeley and the U.S. Geological Survey said, “California is going to have an earthquake early warning system, the question is whether we have one before or after the next big quake.”

Building upon the California Integrated Seismic Network, seismologists envision a system that would process data from an array of sensors throughout the state. The system would effectively detect the strength and the progression of earthquakes, alert the public within seconds and provide up to 60 seconds advanced warning before potentially damaging ground shaking is felt.