USGS: Real-Time Satellite Data Improves Earthquake Early Warning System in the United States

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and its partners have unveiled a new capability within the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System, designed to rapidly characterize large earthquakes and provide faster notifications. This enhancement incorporates satellite-based sensors to detect earth-surface movements, complementing the system's existing network of over 1500 seismic sensors.

The integration of real-time Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) sensors allows for quicker and more accurate determination of earthquake magnitude and shaking area. Unlike seismic sensors, which measure the speed of ground shaking, GNSS sensors track the ground's displacement. This dual-sensor approach aims to enhance public safety by providing faster alerts for protective actions such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

Currently operational in California, Oregon, and Washington, ShakeAlert can deliver alerts to cell phones and trigger automatic safety measures like slowing trains, opening firehouse doors, and closing water system valves. The GNSS integration is a collaborative effort involving the USGS, the EarthScope Consortium, the University of Washington, Central Washington University, UC Berkeley, and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

Managed by the USGS in partnership with state agencies and universities, ShakeAlert serves over 50 million residents and visitors in the affected states. Upon completion of the seismic sensor network in 2025, ShakeAlert will feature over 2000 stations, enhancing its capacity to protect lives and infrastructure from earthquake threats.

Read the original USGS news article here.