Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - Page 3 News List

CWB aiming for world-class earthquake monitoring


The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) is continually improving its earthquake monitoring technology and expertise to detect and report earthquakes within 30 seconds of their occurrence, a senior bureau official in charge of seismology said yesterday.

By the end of next year, the Seismology Center should be able to detect the epicenter and intensity of a quake in Taiwan within 30 seconds of its occurrence, a proposal submitted by the bureau to the Legislative Yuan for budget screening said.

The bureau would also aim to disseminate disaster information within seconds by text messaging, fax, e-mail and other Internet-based systems, the proposal said.

Seismology Center Director Kuo Kai-wen (郭鎧紋) said the center maintained 109 earthquake monitoring stations nationwide and could detect the intensity and epicenter of a quake within 35 seconds — the fastest anywhere in the world.

In comparison, Kuo said, Japan could detect an earthquake and report on it within one minute, while the US could do it within 40 minutes to 50 minutes, mostly because of its vast territory.

“Twenty years ago, when the center only had 22 monitoring stations, Taiwan needed about 40 minutes to detect and report on an earthquake,” Kuo said.

The budget proposal said about NT$364 million (US$11 million) would be required to increase the number of underground seismic observation stations and build an undersea marine seismic observation system off the east coast.

The Seismology Center said 70 percent of earthquakes around Taiwan originated off the northeast coast, which tended to affect the greater Taipei area. However, all its existing earthquake monitoring systems were located on land.

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