Lawmaker proposes early warning system for quakes
Systems have proved reliable in India, Japan.
Imagine if you could have a few seconds warning before a deadly earthquake strikes. One California lawmaker wants to make this a reality for citizens of his quake-prone state and has proposed a bill to do just that.
After drought, and wildfires,earthquakes are the most damaging natural disasters to strike California.
Earthquake early warning systems have already been tested and deployed in Japan and India, and a system built by researchers has also been tested in California, with success.
Earthquake early warning systems should not be confused with earthquake prediction, which scientists say is still elusive knowledge.
Early warning systems detect the initial signs that an earthquake has started and using high-speed computers and communications, they can send a warning that a devastating quake is about to strike on the surface. That warning, traveling electronically, can trigger an audible alarm several seconds before the seismic waves arrive, the farther from the epicenter, the greater the warning time.
At best, such systems can provide up to a minute of warning, although more typically, they only provide a few seconds, averaging closer to ten.
Ten seconds may not sound like much, but it is enough time for people to duck and cover and for trains and automobiles to stop. That much warning time is all that is needed to make the difference between life and death, possibly for hundreds of people.
In Japan, such systems have achieved an 85 percent reliability rating, and that rating improves as the detection software is enhanced.
"A fully developed earthquake early warning system would provide Californians critical seconds to take cover, assist loved ones, pull to the side of the road, or exit a building,'' Padilla told reporters. "It could allow time to stop a train or power down other critical infrastructure.''
It is unknown how, if the bill passes, the system would be implemented.
California has been lucky, with potentially deadly quakes now missing densely-populated urban centers for two decades. However, scientists warn than as more time passes without quakes to relieve stress on the network of faults under California, it becomes increasingly likely that a single, large quake will happen. When that day comes - and it will, it is hoped that California is as prepared as it can be for the sake of millions of people.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: earthquakes, prediction, early warning, Alex Padilla, California
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More U.S. News
- Homeless man whose face was eaten away in cannibal attack recovering
- Priests for Life: Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Most Significant Legislative Step Forward
- In the Wake of the Moore Tornado: What Can we Learn from the Disaster?
- US Supreme Court Accepts Religion Case: Will Legislative Prayer Survive Religious Censorship?
- Largest Burmese Python caught in Miami-Dade County
- Court sides with Obama, Osama death photos can remain secret - for your own good
- Two Oklahoma men killed in tornadoes; Kansas, Iowa batten down for severe weather
- Supreme Court to decide if prayer before town meeting is permissible
- All survive terrifying plane 'belly landing' in Newark
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?