UO gets USGS money to help make quake early warning a reality

Earthquake graphic - Courtesy MGN.jpg

Seconds may be all you have to take potentially life-saving actions when an earthquake strikes.

To that end, the U.S. Geological Survey announced Monday that it is awarding about $3.7 million to six universities, including the University of Oregon, to help put into production an early warning system aimed at giving people a chance to take cover before the shaking starts.

Scientists warn that the Pacific Northwest is due for a destructive earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone on the West Coast.

The UO, along with the California Institute of Technology; Central Washington University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Washington and University of Nevada, Reno, will work to improve sensor and telemetry devices along the West Coast. They will also work to include real-time GPS readings into the network that spans from southern California to the Pacific Northwest.

The ShakeAlert system has been under development for 10 years, according to the USGS.

The USGS says it has also bought about $1.5 million in new sensors to add to the system and improve it.

The USGS says it’ll cost about $38.3 million to complete the project. When completed, the system is supposed issue public alerts. It will also cost about $16.1 million a year to operate and maintain it.

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