Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

An early warning system designed to warn people crucial seconds before earthquakes Monday deliver on their promise. It buzzed through half a million phones prior to a 6.2 magnitude earthquake that struck northwestern California — the largest earthquake since the system, called ShakeAlert, was rolled out statewide. the guard reported.

ShakeAlert pulls information from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) sensor network. If data from those sensors indicates that an area will be experiencing major vibrations, people who live there will receive alerts via the MyShake app (if they’ve downloaded it) or via the wireless emergency alarm system on their phones. Alerts are also going to Android users through a partnership between Google, USGS and the California Office of Emergency Services.

The epicenter of Monday’s earthquake was off the coast of a small town called Petrolia, and about 75 miles from the nearest population center, Eureka. People reported getting warnings about 10 seconds before the shaking started, Robert de Groot, a ShakeAlert coordinator at the USGS, told me. the guard, making it a successful proof-of-concept for the first substantial earthquake processed by the system. The quake caused no major damage to the area and there were no deaths.

The ShakeAlert system was first introduced in Los Angeles in 2018, before expanding to all of California in 2019. The system was operational in LA when an earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale struck about 150 miles (150 km) outside the city, but no alarm was raised. because the expected shaking in the city wasn’t strong enough to cross the app’s threshold. Users complained that they didn’t get a warning even though they felt shaking, so the developers of the app lowered the threshold before the nationwide rollout.

Now the scientists behind ShakeAlert can use the information from this most recent earthquake to improve the system again for next time. “We are really going to learn the most from real earthquakes,” said de Groot the guard. “It gives us the chance to use the system and learn how to better warn people.”

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