INNOVATION March-April 2016

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Earthquake Early Warning Systems Technology Detects, Analyses and Acts on Seismic Signals

Dr. Iain Weir-Jones, P.Eng., FGS Dr. Anton Zaicenco, P.Eng.

Engineers and geoscientists cannot yet predict over the short-term the time and location of an earthquake. However, we can deploy reliable, autonomous systems that warn populations in seismically active regions of imminent earthquakes. Earthquake early warning systems are commercially available, have been deployed in British Columbia for a number of years, and contribute to the safety of hundreds of thousands of British Columbians every day. This article explains how the systems work, outlines their general capabilities and limitations, and describes how two systems we designed responded during a recent earthquake on BC’s south coast.

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