A New Earthquake Warning System for the Pacific Northwest

Oregon and Washington are implementing sensors that can detect and report an earthquake to communities with as much as a minute or two of warning.

1 minute read

April 11, 2017, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Pacific Northwest

Garrett Meyers / Shutterstock

"An early warning system for earthquakes is expanding to Oregon and Washington," reports Kristian Foden-Vencil.

The system amounts to a small network of sensors that can identify an earthquake and notify nearby cities. According to Foden-Vencil, "depending on where an earthquake hits, it can give nearby cities a warning of up to a minute or two." A complete build-out of an earthquake notification system would cost about $38 million, according to a source quoted in the article.

"The hope is that in the future, there will be enough sensors to justify a phone app so the general public can get earthquake warnings," adds Foden-Vencil.

For a reminder of the scale of the risk presented by earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest, revisit Kathryn Schulz's in-depth reporting on the Cascadia subduction zone from July 2015.

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