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Technical implementation plan for the ShakeAlert production system: an Earthquake Early Warning system for the West Coast of the United States

May 12, 2014

Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) systems can provide as much as tens of seconds of warning to people and automated systems before strong shaking arrives. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) and its partners are developing such an EEW system, called ShakeAlert, for the West Coast of the United States. This document describes the technical implementation of that system, which leverages existing stations and infrastructure of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) regional networks to achieve this new capability. While significant progress has been made in developing the ShakeAlert early warning system, improved robustness of each component of the system and additional testing and certification are needed for the system to be reliable enough to issue public alerts. Major components of the system include dense networks of ground motion sensors, telecommunications from those sensors to central processing systems, algorithms for event detection and alert creation, and distribution systems to alert users. Capital investment costs for a West Coast EEW system are projected to be $38.3M, with additional annual maintenance and operations totaling $16.1M—in addition to current ANSS expenditures for earthquake monitoring. An EEW system is complementary to, but does not replace, other strategies to mitigate earthquake losses. The system has limitations: false and missed alerts are possible, and the area very near to an earthquake epicenter may receive little or no warning. However, such an EEW system would save lives, reduce injuries and damage, and improve community resilience by reducing longer-term economic losses for both public and private entities.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2014
Title Technical implementation plan for the ShakeAlert production system: an Earthquake Early Warning system for the West Coast of the United States
DOI 10.3133/ofr20141097
Authors Douglas D. Given, Elizabeth S. Cochran, Thomas Heaton, Egill Hauksson, Richard Allen, Peggy Hellweg, John Vidale, Paul Bodin
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2014-1097
Index ID ofr20141097
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center

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