California Institute of Technology

Earthquake Early Warning

Scientists and engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), USGS Pasadena, UC Berkeley, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), and the University of Southern California (USC/SCEC) are doing earthquake early warning (EEW) research and development for California. This effort that started in 2007, includes the development and implementation of the recently deployed demonstration EEW system for California, called CISN ShakeAlert (Böse et al., 2012). ShakeAlert makes use of the existing infrastructure of the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN, Caltech/UC Berkeley/USGS), including real-time waveform data streams from ~380 broadband and strong-motion stations throughout California.

Initially, the project was funded through the US Geological Survey (USGS) that also has the formal responsibility of earthquake alerting in the US. In early 2012, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation provided three years of new funding for EEW research and development for the west coast of the US. Caltech, UC Berkeley, University of Washington, and USGS are using these funds to accelerate EEW research and to improve the ShakeAlert system. In particular, the Moore funding is enabling the research and development of new algorithms for creating more accurate warnings for finite-source large (M>7) earthquakes as well as working with early-adopters of ShakeAlert, and development of probability based smart engineering applications.