Earth and Planetary Science
EPS Near-Surface Geochemistry and Geobiology

ShakeAlert reaches CA+OR+WA

Tuesday, May 4, 2021
map of Washington, Oregon, and California with ShakeAlert logo and checkmark over the states

BSL and EEW reach a critical milestone for the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system: public alerts are now available across all three partner states: CA + OR + WA.

The Berkeley Seismological Lab (BSL) is the oldest Organized Research Unit (ORU) at the University of California, Berkeley and dates back to 1887 with the installation of two seismometers on campus, the first in the western hemisphere.  Then called Seismographic Stations, the BSL was organized under the auspices of the Department of Geology, which has since become the Deparment of Earth & Panetary Science.  Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) is a system that can provide a few seconds to tens of seconds warning prior to ground shaking during an earthquake. The purpose of such a system is to provide warnings in California or other earthquake prone regions around the world. The warning messages provided by EEW can be valuable to reducing the damage, costs and casualties resulting from an earthquake.

Everyone at the BSL--and many others across campus--have been critical to the earthquake early warning effort.
 
It was one decade ago following the M9 Tohoku-Oki earthquake that then dean, Mark Richards, proposed BSL host a summit for scientists, legislators, private sector representatives and foundations.  That summit initiated the tri-state ShakeAlert effort.  The ShakeAlert effort has grown to involve many institutions since, a mark of its importance and impact.  The BSL has continued to play a critical role.  BSL developed the EPIC algorithm that is generating the public alerts.  BSL expanded networks to detect quakes faster.  BSL developed the MyShake app that delivers the alerts.  And BSL has promoted the concept of EEW to the public and rallied legislators to fund it.
 
There is more to be done of course.  BSL must complete construction of the expanded networks and harness them to explore new ways to reduce hazards in California.  BSL's work to reduce hazards beyond the US is also critical.  Last week Google announced the launch of earthquake alerts in Greece and New Zealand based on the smartphone technology they licenced from the BSL.  Through ongoing collaboration with Google, BSL can extend warnings further and tap into new sensing opportunities.
 
Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) is a system that can provide a few seconds to tens of seconds warning prior to ground shaking during an earthquake. The purpose of such a system is to provide warnings in California or other earthquake prone regions around the world. The warning messages provided by EEW can be valuable to reducing the damage, costs and casualties resulting from an earthquake.
 
For yet more information about EEW, visit http://www.shakealert.org.