Guest Video: Early Earthquake Warning Systems

You may have heard of earthquake warning systems. Here is how one of them works.

In that example, people in Palm Springs and along the line of the spreading rupture are out of luck, but the system definitely helps communities farther away.

Early warnings have saved many lives in Mexico, but there are limitations to what any early warning system can do.

False alarms are inevitable. Another problem is that earthquakes are unpredictable and little is known about why they occur. Seismologists, for example, wonder why Mexico experienced three major earthquakes in six months.

And local media report that the sirens are stressing people out to the point where some even hear them when they are not in operation.

A seemingly good solution to reduce anxiety would be to set your phone/alarm system to only register large-amplitude ground movement. Unfortunately, according to a recent study, early earthquake warnings work best for relatively small seismic waves.
Humanity has come a long way since a large earthquake in 1556 killed over 800,000 Chinese people, but there is still quite a way to go.

Featured Image: Andy Maguire. CC BY 2.0.


About BJ Deming

After getting an associate's degree in forestry, I studied geology as an undergraduate back in the 1980s but went into medical transcription instead. It just worked out better for me. The Internet renewed my interest in geoscience as a hobby, and when I retired in 2014, I decided to write a book about cat evolution. That started a new career for me (enormous fun but not self-supporting yet). Right now, besides blogging I am finishing up the first two books in a self-published ebook series about the cat family and its history. Thanks for your interest!

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