Thu, Jul 18, 2019 - Page 15 News List

California spends over US$40 million on quake early warning system
加州積極抗震 建立十多億預警系統

Kindergarten teachers and students in Yunlin County put on disaster prevention headgear during an earthquake drill on National Disaster Preparedness Day on Sept. 21 last year.

Photo: Lin Kuo-hsien, Liberty Times

After a magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit southern California recently, the authorities announced that they are spending over US$40 million (about NT$1.2 billion) on an earthquake early warning (EEW) system, which will not only alert the public but also be used to automatically halt trains and open fire station doors right before a quake actually strikes, according to Reuters.

The system will consist of 1,115 early detection sensors. California Governor Gavin Newsom said that the state has already installed 70 percent of the sensors and hopes to complete the statewide network by mid-2021. The network, similar to the Taiwanese and Japanese systems, is designed to detect seismic “P-waves” unleashed by an earthquake before the ground starts shaking.

Theoretically, the further an area is from the epicenter of a quake, the earlier it will receive a warning before the ground shakes. According to the National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering, in the scenario of the 921 Earthquake in 1999, an EEW system would have given Taipei residents 27 seconds prior warning before the quake struck.

(Eddy Chang, Taipei Times)






1. magnitude n.


(zhen4 ji2; gui1 mo2)

2. early warning phr.


(yu4 jing3)

3. detect v.


(zhen1 ce4)

4. seismic adj.


(di4 zhen4 de5; di4 zhen4 yin2 qi3 de5)

5. epicenter n.


(zhen4 yang1)

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