20 May '15, 6pm

Cheap Earthquake Warning Systems

Photo: Bulent Doruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images While predicting earthquakes remains a dream, scientists have developed early-warning systems that give people precious seconds to run out of buildings or take cover. Such systems are in place in Japan and Mexico. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is testing a system that gave a 5- to 10-second warning when a temblor hit California’s Napa Valley in 2014. That kind of warning might have saved hundreds of lives when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated Nepal on 25 April. Earthquake-warning systems come at a high price , though, too high for countries like Nepal and others in quake-prone zones in South Asia, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. But researchers are now working on more affordable, crowdsourced warning systems based on low-cost sensors and cellphone electronics. Today’s alert systems deploy networks of hu...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-electronics/portable-de...

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