Home A New Earthquake Warning System

Earthquakes kill and injure tens of thousands of people every year. Earthquakes cause 100's of millions of dollars of damage to property every year. I am not attempting to do anything about property damage. My goal is to dramatically reduce the deaths and injuries caused by earthquakes. I believe this can be accomplished through a new earthquake warning system.

The problem is -- news after the fact, rather than before the fact

Presently, there is no effective earthquake warning system -- anywhere in the world. When the earth shakes, sensors that are placed all over the world tell us how bad the quake was. They tell us about it after the fact. These sensors do not warn us that a quake is about to occur. A new system is needed that can give us the daily average risk of an earthquake. New sensors are needed that can give us seconds or minutes of warning before a big quake is about to hit. Such a new system is feasible today.

Tornado Watch and Warning System

I live in the state of Minnesota, in the United States. In my area, tornados are quite common. I believe a sensible Earthquake warning system can be modelled after our existing Tornado Warning System.

Tornado Watches

Government meteorologists are in charge of monitoring weather conditions and issue Tornado Warnings when weather conditions are statistically above average for a tornado.

Tornado Watches

On my own, I started a similar system that can tell you ahead of time when the conditions are statistically above average for a major earthquake. I believe most major quakes are triggered by higher than normal forces on the earth's crust. These forces are predictable even though the individual quakes themselves are not. Using the earth's wobble, I issue, at the beginning of each year, Earthquake Watches for the entire year. I believe it is outrageous that the government doesn't publish this information already.

Tornado Warnings

Once a Tornado Watch is issued in our area, trained observers go out and watch for tornadoes. If a tornado is sighted, then tornado Warning sirens are sounded to let people know of the danger. In addition to spotters, every meteorologist with a radar and an audience is on the lookout for any radar signature of a tornado. It is now quite common to issue Tornado Warnings without actually seeing them -- using just the radar signature. The nice thing about tornadoes is they do not normally pop out a clear blue sky. There usually is ample time to warn most of the public. This system is still not perfect. For example, recently in the town of Siren Wisconsin, a tornado appeared without much warning and people were killed. The key detail is this. There is a system. It save lives.

Earthquake Warnings

When rock breaks, it gives off an electromagnetic signature. When a lot of rock breaks -- as in a major earthquake -- tremendous amounts of electromagnetic energy is released. I believe, this signature can be picked up by a new type of sensor before the trembling and shaking of the ground starts. The difference in time may only be seconds or minutes, but if the public is informed instantly, then lives can be saved.


To summarize, a new earthquake system involving risk analysis for major quakes, issuing of Earthquake Watches, the design of new sensors, and a split-second Earthquake Warning system is now feasible, and it would save lives.