Quakefinder Blog

Earthquake forecasts/predictions/warnings: what does “short term” mean?

We recently became aware of the Quake-Catcher Network project at Stanford. From their web site: “The Quake-Catcher Network is a collaborative initiative for developing the world’s largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers.” This project to “catch” quakes as they happen could provide very short-term warning to people in the affected area. Depending on distance from the epicenter, you might get a few seconds up to a minute or so of awareness that a quake was about to occur (read more here.) But what can we do with just a few seconds warning? We can take immediate action such as turning off the stove, or hiding under a desk – but little else to really prepare. This certainly has the potential to save lives and money, and we applaud every effort to create earthquake warnings. QuakeFinder is aiming for warnings days to weeks before major quakes. With more warning, people will be able to make much more extensive preparations, such as avoiding hazardous areas, not traveling on certain days, or adjusting production or shipping schedules. Comment on this post to tell us what you would do if you had knew a major quake would hit your area within two weeks. Links: Seeking Citizen Seismologists in the Bay Area

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