• Seismic early warningsSensing earthquakes in a new way to help improve early warning systems

    Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell the difference between life and death. Researchers demonstrate a new earthquake detection method — their technique exploits subtle telltale gravitational signals traveling ahead of the tremors. Future research could boost early warning systems.

  • EarthquakesCrowdsourcing speeds up monitoring of earthquake

    Data produced by Internet users can help to speed up the detection of earthquakes. Fast and accurate information is essential in the case of earthquakes: Epicenter location, depth and magnitude are minimum requirements to reliably estimate their possibly catastrophic consequences.

  • EarthquakesCalifornia hospitals to pay billions for seismic safety upgrades

    California hospitals would need to make substantial investments—between $34 billion and $143 billion statewide—to meet 2030 state seismic safety standards, according to a new report.

  • Seismic early warningA new way to sense earthquakes could improve early warning systems

    Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell the difference between life and death. Researchers demonstrate a new earthquake detection method — their technique exploits subtle telltale gravitational signals traveling ahead of the tremors. Future research could boost early warning systems.

  • EarthquakesFast, simple new method for assessing earthquake hazard

    Geophysicists have created a new method for determining earthquake hazards by measuring how fast energy is building up on faults in a specific region, and then comparing that to how much is being released through fault creep and earthquakes.

  • False alarmsLessons learned from Hawaii false nuclear attack alarm

    When people in the Hawaiian Islands received a false alarm text message that said “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill” in January 2018, the result was not panic, according to new research. The researchers found that people sought information that could verify their risk and help them decide what to do next.

  • EarthquakesL.A. showcases quake alert system

    California is earthquake country, and residents of Los Angeles can now get some critical warning, when conditions are right, after a quake has started and seismic waves are heading their way. The long-delayed system, called ShakeAlertLA, is the first of its kind in the United States.

  • Seismic warnings“Majority rules” when looking for earthquakes, explosions

    Finding the ideal settings for each sensor in a network to detect vibrations in the ground, or seismic activity, can be a painstaking and manual process. Researchers at Sandia are working to change that by using software that automatically adjusts the seismic activity detection levels for each sensor. The new software reduces false, missed detections of seismic activity.

  • BiothreatsWinners announced in $300K biothreat prize competition

    DHS S&T the other day announced the grand prize winner of its $300,000 Hidden Signals Challenge. The prize competition called for the design of an early warning system to keep communities safe by using existing data sources to uncover emerging biothreats.

  • CybersecurityMobile security messages 20 percent more effective if warnings vary in appearance

    Using brain data, eye-tracking data and field-study data, researchers have confirmed something about our interaction with security warnings on computers and phones: the more we see them, the more we tune them out. But the major study also finds that slight changes to the appearance of warnings help users pay attention to and adhere to warnings 20 percent more of the time.

  • Sesimic early warningSeismic early warning could save lives in Nepal’s next Big One

    Just before noon on 25 April 2015, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that maxed out the seismic intensity scale shook the entire nation of Nepal. Originating about 100 km northwest of the capital city of Kathmandu, this earthquake along with a magnitude 7.1 aftershock on 12 May killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000 more while damaging or destroying more than 600,000 structures. Scientists say that if sensors had been near the epicenter of the 2015 earthquake, they could have detected it up to 80 seconds before it reached Kathmandu. Even factoring in the time it would take to corroborate the signal with other sensors and transmit a warning to everyone’s cell phones—which are just as abundant in Nepal as they are in America—people could have gotten more than a minute warning.

  • Seismic early warningFederal funding moves ShakeAlert closer to reality

    A recent boost in federal funding will move the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system closer to completion. The omnibus spending package allocates $12.9 million for continued development and limited public rollout of the system. It also appropriates $10 million for capital costs to add more earthquake sensors and improve system infrastructure.

  • Earthquake early warningSafety potential, limits of earthquake early warning systems

    In a new study, scientists calculate possible alert times that earthquake early warning systems can provide people at different levels of ground motion from light to very strong shaking. Results of scientific studies such as this can be used to design alerting strategies for earthquake early warning systems such as USGS’ ShakeAlert.

  • Alarms & alertsLessons from a false-alarm

    On 13 January, by contrast, residents and visitors in Hawaii were alerted to an impending missile attack for which they had perhaps twenty minutes to take action. After thirty-eight minutes, they were told the alert was a false alarm, triggered by an emergency worker’s mistake. “We know a lot about what people do in terms of a hurricane, how they make decisions on such things as whether to evacuate, but this incident in Hawaii was different,” said an expert who went to Hawaii to study how people reacted to the alert. While many residents and tourists reported being frightened during the incident, the most common reaction was confusion during the alert and frustration after learning that it had been issued in error.

  • Seismic early warningsChilean great quakes show efficacy of satellite-based earthquake early warning system

    Researchers testing a satellite-based earthquake early warning system developed for the U.S. West Coast found that the system performed well in a “replay” of three large earthquakes that occurred in Chile between 2010 and 2015. Their results suggest that such a system could provide early warnings of ground shaking and tsunamis for Chile’s coastal communities in the future.