Tuesday’s Earthquakes Provide Test For ShakeAlert Warning System

July 18, 2019 16:00 pm · 10 comments

Following a 4.3-magnitude earthquake and a 3.5 aftershock in Contra Costa County on Tuesday, 50 technical partners of the U.S. Geological Survey’s ShakeAlert early earthquake warning system were successfully notified, according to a coordinator with the program.

While the system is not yet available to the public as a mobile application for the region, if it was, many residents across the Bay Area would have received a warning as soon as the shocks began at the origin near
Blackhawk, 20 miles east of Oakland, according to Robert de Groot, coordinator for communication at ShakeAlert.

Earlier this month, Los Angeles County residents questioned the accuracy of ShakeAlert after the county’s mobile alert system failed to warn the public when two earthquakes with magnitudes 6.4 and 7.1 hit Southern California.

The system was established in Los Angeles County with the goal of alerting the public in case of shocks with a magnitude greater than 5, and the Southern California earthquakes centered in Kern County were estimated to
have shocks below 4.5 in Los Angeles County.

Officials with the USGS ShakeAlert Twitter account on Tuesday wrote that the city of Los Angeles is “in the process of reducing ShakeAlert delivery to Los Angeles County to MMI III (weak shaking).”

The USGS is reportedly also working on a notification system that would issue a Wireless Emergency Alert, described as an Amber Alert for earthquakes.

The system was tested with over 40,000 residents in West Oakland earlier this year, de Groot said.

Seismologists at University of California at Berkeley are also working to incorporate a ShakeAlert notification system into their MyShake mobile application for Bay Area residents.

“It is in its test phase,” said Jennifer Strauss with the Berkeley Seismological Lab.

Strauss said more updates about the status of the application will be available this fall.

Mongoose July 18, 2019 at 4:43 PM

Excellent…provides just enough warning to bend over and kiss your a$$ goodby.

Original G July 18, 2019 at 5:10 PM

Hmm, found this Wikipedia “ShakeAlert issued a warning 5.4 seconds after the beginning of the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that hit the Napa region on August 24, 2014”

According to LA Times there’s an LA app . . . . “More than 500,000 people have downloaded Los Angeles County’s new ShakeAlertLA app to warn them of impending earthquakes.

So when the two strongest earthquakes in almost two decades hit Southern California this month, those residents were surprised by what they saw on their smartphones: nothing.”

Do hope they gained knowledge from recent quakes enabling more accurate and before the quake warnings.

Wage Slave July 18, 2019 at 6:21 PM

I believe what they ate stating in the article is that the alert does not go out unless the shaking is equivalent to a 5 or higher. Since LA was over 100 miles away from the epicenter, the shaking was lower than that by the time it got to the LA basin, thereby not triggering the alert. So they are dropping the required intensity now to compensate.

Considering the quake didn’t do any damage or injure anyone in LA, they probably got it about right, but I suppose people want to know regardless.

John P July 18, 2019 at 5:12 PM

I’ve read the warnings give you a head start of about 5 seconds. Not much time to do more than what Mongoose said. We’ll need a system that gives a couple of minutes or it’s just science without practical application.

Wage Slave July 18, 2019 at 6:27 PM

I would think the warning time depends on the distance to the epicenter. The closer you are, the shorter the warning time.

Still would be useful for train operators, could get elevators to the nearest floor and opened, you could get away from glass windows, etc.

Eastbay Babe July 18, 2019 at 8:11 PM

The best predictor of quakes has been very accurate of quakes has been this dude name Dutchsenise on YouTube. He accurately predicted the Ridge-crest Quake and the intensity. of it plus many previous. quakes before that. What he has reported is that California needs to be prepared. He has study quakes and sees the correlation between quakes energy, fault lines and volcano. Remember folks California has volcanos but are dormit yet they still contain energy below them. Just about 4 weeks ago LA news channel reported a small pit of TAR seeping thru the street of Wilshire Boulevard. That means there is pressure building under LA .

Wage Slave July 18, 2019 at 8:25 PM

Nobody can predict earthquakes, least of all a rando on YouTube.

Tar is always leaking up around that part of LA. That is why they have the tar pits, and lots of oil wells.

The folding of the rocks underground by the compressional forces of the San Andreas along the transverse range creates synclines and anticlines. The oil (and tar), which is less dense than rock, slowly seeps up through the more porous rock, layers of the anticline until at some places it reaches the surface. This is why geologists look for such geological structures when prospecting for oil.

RMD July 18, 2019 at 10:10 PM

There is no such thing as a predictor of quakes. He has not been accurate in predicting quakes. California does need to be prepared. Geologists are aware of all of our volcanoes, active and dormant and the amount of “energy” and the likelihood of an eruption. Tar seeping is normal in that area of LA. Your post is 100% hysteria.

IKrissy July 18, 2019 at 8:20 PM

I’d take a five second warning any day.
It’s not a weather cast!

I love Mother Nature❤️

hooked on horses July 21, 2019 at 11:40 PM

The best earthquake alarm by far has always been the actions of my animals in the moments preceding the quake.

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