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Seismo Lab
Earth & Planetary
UC Berkeley


Earthquake early warning summit:
Delivering earthquake warnings to the US west coast

Summit dates: April 4-5, 2011
Location: Bechtel Boardroom, Rm 630, Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley

The recent M9 Tohoku-oki earthquake in Japan reminds us of the sudden destructive power of earthquakes. But this recent earthquake was different in that a warning flashed onto TV and computer screens, and beeped on cellphones across the country. This warning allowed people to duck and cover, and industry to halt sensitive machinery and isolate hazardous chemicals. The multitude of small actions taken reduced the overall impact of the event. Development and testing of components for a warning system has been underway in California. At this earthquake early warning summit leading scientists, legislators and industry experts will meet to assess the status and utility of earthquake early warning for the US west coast, and plan a path forward.

Monday April 4th: Leading scientists from UC Berkeley, Caltech, the University of Washington, the US Geological Survey and other west coast institutions will meet to assess the status and potential of early warning in the US.

Tuesday April 5th: Leading scientists, legislators, government, utility, and industry experts will meet to review the performance of the warning system in Japan, the status of the testing in the US, and discuss a path forward to deliver warning to the US west coast.

Scientific planning committee:

  • Richard Allen (UC Berkeley)
  • Tom Heaton (Caltech)
  • John Vidale (University of Washington).

Pros and cons of earthquake early warning - a one-page review prepared by the planning committee.

Seconds before the big one - A summary of the status of earthquake early warning in the US and around the world by Richard Allen, April 2011, Scientific American. remote link (subscription required) | local pdf

For more information contact Richard Allen (rallen-at-berkeley.edu)