New Earthquake Sensors Installed in California

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 17 (UPI) — New seismic monitors being installed around California could increase earthquake warning time by 5 seconds, officials say.

While 5 seconds is only 1/12 of a minute, it could be long enough to shut off gas lines or stop subway trains, the Los Angeles Times reported. That’s because the electronic signals sent by sensors move much faster than earthquake shockwaves.

Richard Allen, associate director of the Seismological Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley, said the warning time will be especially helpful for quakes centered away from major cities.

“The earthquakes that will affect San Francisco don’t necessarily start in San Francisco, and the same is true for Los Angeles,” Allen said. “They could start way to the north or to the south and rupture toward the city.”

Many of the sensors in Southern California have already been replaced, officials said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | Earthquakes
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