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Earthquake Early Warning Timeline

Basics | ShakeAlert | Timeline | Japan | Mexico | Key Publications

E-larmS | G-larmS | T-larmS | MyShake


When will the United States get its public earthquake early warning system?

The idea behind earthquake early warning dates back to the 1868 earthquake on the Hayward Fault in the San Francisco Bay Area. Below are some key milestones in the path to implementing early warning in the United States.

2015: US Congress provides $8.2 million for earthquake early warning

2014: US Congress provides $5 million to begin construction

2014: ShakeAlert issues warning for M6 Napa earthquake

2013: California passes legislation to create statewide system

2012: West coast wide testing of ShakeAlert begins

2011: ShakeAlert: Alerts going to test users in California

2011: Moore Foundation awards $6.5 million for early warning

2007: Japan turns on its public nationwide warning system

2007: Real-time testing of E-larmS in California begins

2003: Allen and Kanamori: The potential for earthquake early warning

1991: Mexico City gets the first public earthquake early warning system

1985: Tom Heaton proposes a “Seismic Computerized Alert Network"

1868: JD Cooper proposed earthquake warning system for San Francisco



December 18, 2015:
US Congress provides $8.2 million for earthquake early warning

Lawmakers included $8.2 million in funding for an early-warning system for earthquakes on the West Coast, a more than $3 million increase over last year. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) called the spending a “very substantial sum in these budget-constrained times.”

But don’t expect the work to be done overnight. Schiff has said it would take another $30 million or so to finish building the system, and an additional $16 million a year to run it. “We’ve gone a long way with this warning system, and I’m hopeful over the next few years we’ll have it fully installed,” said Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona), who is chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees funding for earthquake programs.




What California stands to gain from Congress' budget deal: Big boost toward earthquake early-warning system

Full article
Download pdf



Congress is finally waking up to the need for better earthquake preparedness in the Pacific Northwest

Seattle Times editorial - January 4, 2016
Full article | Download pdf





December 15, 2014:
US Congress provides $5 million to start transition to public ShakeAlert


Congress OKs $5 million for state’s quake early-warning system

Congress has approved $5 million to speed development of the West Coast’s earthquake early-warning system,

a network of seismic sensors that could give Californians up to a minute of warning when the ground is about to shake from a distant quake.

The funds were included in the $1.1 trillion bipartisan spending bill passed by the U.S. Senate over the weekend. The money was added to the bill through the efforts of California’s congressional delegation after the network demonstrated success in August during the 6.0-magnitude South Napa quake, scientists said.

A completed system in California would cost $16 million a year to build, maintain and operate, said geophysicist Richard Allen, director of the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory and a leader in developing California’s network.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who pushed for Senate approval of the funds, called them “a down payment” and said she will seek more money next year. Download pdf








California receives U.S. funding for earthquake early-warning system

Download pdf




August 24, 2014:
ShakeAlert issues warning for M6 Napa earthquake

August 25, 2014 - Rachel Maddow reports on an earthquake early warning system that helps provide a few life-saving seconds before the effects of an earthquake are felt. View on the MSNBC site




September 24, 2013:
California passes legislation to create statewide system

Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 135 by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), which requires that the Office of Emergency Services develop a comprehensive statewide earthquake early warning system to alert Californians in advance of dangerous shaking.

"I applaud Governor Brown for his vision and leadership. We live in earthquake country. He understands that when it comes to earthquakes in California, it is not a matter of if, but when,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “With Governor Brown’s signature, the process of developing a statewide earthquake early warning system has begun,” said Senator Alex Padilla. more from the California Newswire or pdf



What does this mean?

The law requires the Governor's Office of Emergency Services to

  • develop a comprehensive statewide earthquake early warning system
  • develop standards for the system and a mechanism to review compliance
  • identify funding for the system. Funding cannot come from the state General Fund.
Full final text of the law




May 2, 2003:
Allen and Kanamori: The potential for earthquake early warning

The methodology that would become the E-larmS earthquake early warning algorithm was first published in Science: [Allen and Kanamori, 2003] and generated alot of press coverage.

Earthquake Alerts: Buying a Few Precious Seconds

Discovery Magazine names the Allen and Kanamori article as one of the Top 100 Science Stories of 2003.

Read more at Discovery or download a pdf.


Acknowledgements

Support for the earthquake early warning efforts at UC Berkeley is provided by: