April 28, 2015

FASTER, PLEASE: A Cheap, Ubiquitous Earthquake Warning System. “When an earthquake hit California’s Napa Valley in 2014, ShakeAlert, a demonstration earthquake warning system under development by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), gave a 5 to 10 second warning. Had such a system been in place in Nepal this month, residents of Kathmandu would have had about 15 to 20 seconds to get out of the most dangerous buildings or take cover where possible. Though it doesn’t seem like much, that’s also enough time to trigger automated shutdown systems for rapid transit (the experimental system is already tied to the BART transportation network), nuclear power facilities, or semiconductor manufacturing plants.”

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