“ShakeAlert” Earthquake Early Warning System Goes West Coast Wide

April 6, 2017 - The U.S. Geological Survey along with university, state and private-sector partners will highlight the rollout of Version 1.2 of the USGS ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system on April 10, 2017.  This milestone extends the ShakeAlert “production prototype” that was rolled out in California in 2016 to Washington and Oregon, creating a fully integrated system for the West Coast that can support pilot uses of alerts.

There will be simultaneous media events with Members of Congress, the USGS and universities held on April 10, 2017at two locations: University of Washington and the Eugene Water &  Electric Board headquarters. The media events will highlight new advances in the system and pilot uses being developed by project partners. 

Timely warnings of an earthquake could provide several seconds, and in favorable cases up to a minute or two, before the arrival of damaging shaking.  Even a few seconds can allow time to take protective action, such as taking cover in safe locations, slowing trains, stopping elevators and opening doors at the nearest floor, or automatically stopping critical processes to mitigate damages or to enhance public safety.

The system does not yet support public warnings but this version allows selected early adopters to develop pilot implementations that demonstrate the system’s utility and develop technologies that pave the way for broader use.

The ShakeAlert system is being co-developed with public and private partners, which include: the U.S. Geological Survey, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the California Geological Survey, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the California Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, the University of Nevada at Reno and Central Washington University. 

Media Advisories will be released in advance, detailing the following rollout events: 

  • Media Event at University of Washington, Seattle - April 10, 2017 
    • This joint media event will be hosted at UW along with USGS, RH2 Engineering and the Washington Emergency Management Division.
  • Media Event at Eugene Water & Electric Board, Eugene - April 10, 2017 
    • The University of Oregon and Oregon's first Pilot Project, Eugene Water & Electric Board, will be announcing the rollout of the integrated West Coast ShakeAlert system. 

The USGS estimates it will cost $38.3 million in capital investment to complete the ShakeAlert system on the West Coast to the point of issuing public alerts, and $16.1 million each year to operate and maintain it. This is in addition to current funding to support earthquake monitoring networks.



Donyelle Davis, USGS
Email:  dkdavis@usgs.gov
Phone: 626-202-2393

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