Indiana News

Earthquake Warning System Being Tested in California

9/26/2011

An early warning system is being tested in California with the potential to move to other areas like Indiana.

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It's not an earthquake prediction system, but one that's triggered when an earthquake begins, giving up to a few tens of seconds of warning.

IU Geology Professor Dr. Michael Hamburger says the short warning can be enough to help with industrial issues that could be caused by earthquakes.

"So there may be automatic shutoffs for gas valves or a nuclear power plant starting a shut down procedure, air traffic controllers making arrangements at an airport and so on."

Dr. Hamburger says the major testing ground in the United States is California and if it shows success there, it could be used in other areas like the Hoosier state. However the system, which is being used in areas like Japan has been hit-and-miss in terms of success.

Dr. Hamburger says the system worked to an extent during the massive earthquake in Japan last March. However, he says it did not recognize the size of the earthquake and the potential impact until after the shaking had already arrived.

 

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