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Courtesy of Richard Allen/UC Berkeley, location map and GPS displacements near the April 2010, Mw 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake
Seconds matter

Earthquake Early-Warning System

Seismological research is underway to develop a system that saves lives and money.

In the seconds before an earthquake, more people can get to safety, utilities can alert workers in the field, trains can power down, and officials can activate emergency systems. An earthquake early-warning system could give us all seconds, or up to a minute, to act.

Once implemented, the West Coast earthquake early-warning system would immediately inform citizens and first responders. It would process data from an array of ground sensors, detect the strength and progression of an earthquake, and alert the public within seconds—so we can shut down hospital operating rooms, hazardous manufacturing plants, airport runways, trains, utilities and more. The system would issue this warning across computers, cell phones, radio, TV and other systems with broad reach to the general public.

That’s why we made an investment in developing the earthquake early-warning system prototype. Through our grants to Caltech, UC Berkeleythe University of Washington and the United States Geological Survey, core research for the earthquake early-warning system is now underway to propel the science forward.

Ultimately, this work by the three universities and the USGS would make the earthquake early-warning system freely available to all.

Recent Grants

$2,000,000.00 Oct 2011 Southern California Research to Enable an Earthquake Early Warning Prototype for the Western United States California Institute of Technology, Division of Geology and Planetary Sciences
More Grants
Courtesy of Richard Allen, University of California, Berkeley


Vicki Chandler, Ph.D., Chief Program Officer, Science

Vicki spearheads the foundation’s Science Program. She studied biochemistry for her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of …

Aanika Carroll, Program Associate, Science

Aanika is a program associate for the Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems Initiative and the Science Learning Portfolio. She also supports the Caltech and Thirty-Meter Telescope commitments. Aanika …