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Tidbits on Earthquake Early Warning

I found out a few new things from a webinar.

I listened in on a webinar today that covered new information on earthquake early warning systems. I'm only going to share tidbits that I found of interest to responders and information that I had not heard before. Diego Melgar was the guest who shared this information and much more!!

  • For earthquake detection and measuring systems in use today, it is the first three seconds of shaking that form the basis for the warning and projection on the size of the earthquake.
  • With any earthquake above a 7.5 magnitude, it is very difficult to project the actual size of the earthquake. There is no way to tell a large earthquake from a VERY LARGE earthquake — initially.
  • There are other instruments coming into use that use GPS, very precise GPS measurements. They are called GNSS. They can measure land movement. For instance, for the last mega Japan earthquake, the coastline moved five meters toward the ocean. That is an indicator that something BIG is happening.
  • It is also possible for GPS to overestimate the size of an earthquake.
  • Here in the Pacific NW, we are dependent on simulations to help estimate the size of an earthquake.
  • Only BIG earthquake events produce a tsunami.
Eric Holdeman is a nationally known emergency manager. He has worked in emergency management at the federal, state and local government levels. Today he serves as the Director, Center for Regional Disaster Resilience (CRDR), which is part of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). The focus for his work there is engaging the public and private sectors to work collaboratively on issues of common interest, regionally and cross jurisdictionally.