Allen CV
Seismo Lab
Earth & Planetary
UC Berkeley

Development of the ElarmS methodology for earthquake early warning: Realtime application in California and offline testing in Japan

Holly M Brown, Richard M Allen, Margaret Hellweg,
Oleg Khainovski, Douglas Neuhauser, Adeline Souf

Seismological Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley

Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 31 (5) p188-200, doi: 10.1016/j.soildyn.2010.03.008, 2011.

Part of a special issue on Prospects and applications of earthquake early warning, real-time risk management, rapid response and loss mitigation.

Download a reprint: BrownAllenEtAlSDEE2011.pdf

In July 2009, the California Integrated Seismic Network concluded a three-year study of earthquake early warning systems in California. Three algorithms were expanded and examined during the study. Here we discuss the history, methodology, and performance of one of the algorithms, ElarmS. Earthquake Alarm Systems, or ElarmS, uses peak displacement and maximum predominant frequency of the P-wave to detect earthquakes and quantify their hazard in the seconds after rupture begins. ElarmS was developed for Northern and Southern California, and now processes waveforms in realtime from 603 seismic sensors across the state. We outline the methodology as currently implemented, present several example events from different regions of California, and summarize the performance in terms of false and missed alarms. ElarmS was also tested offline with a dataset of 84 large magnitude earthquakes from Japan. The results from the Japan dataset were used to create a statistical error model for the algorithm. The model can be used to provide realtime uncertainty estimates at any stage in processing. In August 2009 the CISN embarked on a second three-year study of earthquake early warning. As part of this ongoing research, we identify the technological and methodological challenges facing ElarmS. Telemetry latencies and false alarm rates are two key opportunities for improvement.