The Federal government has allocated $3.7 million for an earthquake early warning system for the west coast. The U-S Geological Survey awarded additional grant money to the University of Oregon.
U of O Professor of Geological Sciences Doug Toomey says ShakeAlert is still in development. The idea is to have a network of sensors that can detect seismic activity. In the event of an earthquake, alerts would show up on smart phones, TV and radio.
Toomey: “It tells you, given your location with respect to the earthquake, how many seconds or perhaps minutes until the shaking arrives and it also tells you the intensity of that shaking.”
Toomey says those additional seconds could give coastal residents time to leave tsunami inundation zones for example.
Congress has awarded a total of $8.2 million this year for the ShakeAlert system. Toomey says an annual $16.2 million is needed for the system to be fully operational. Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio is a strong advocate for funding the ShakeAlert system.