How the United States has prepared for an Earthquake


Two earthquakes in a span of 12 days have reminded the residents of California that it’s just a matter of time before they become victims. For instance, seismologists from the state of California argue that a major earthquake is coming in the next few years. In one of these predictions, there is a nightmare scenario that results in the death of 1,800 people. However, with California being in one of the most technologically advanced nations on earth, there are steps that have been taken to ensure that losses could be minimal in the event of an accident. These steps were taken following the Northridge earthquakes as well as the Loma Prieta earthquake. Both the state and federal governments splashed billions of dollars towards fortifying buildings in the area. However, there are fears that years after the development of the warning system began, the project is still a long way to go. There are such systems in Mexico City. In fact, such sirens were heard in the capital city 15 seconds before the earthquake hit. Earthquake experts say that a 15-second time frame is enough to flee to safety. The New York Times had the opportunity of reviewing the plan that is in place in California.

The working of the system
The system works through a network of sensors that have been aligned near the fault lines. With these sensors, the aim is to detect any movement and shaking and pass the information to the people living near the area. Communication is achieved through phone, radio, and television. This is possible as modern communication allows sound to travel faster than the seismic waves that are responsible for causing earthquakes. This makes it possible to receive a warning some few seconds before the earthquake hits. In some cases, the warning may come a minute before the earthquake. However, a major earthquake like the one in Mexico that hits the center of the city leaves the resident with little options. With the Californian case, approximately 500 sensors have been installed. The warning system is referred to as ShakeAlert. According to a specialist from the project known as Jennifer Strauss, these sensors ought to be introduced in phases. Jennifer Straus works at Seismology Lab located in University of California Berkeley. Experts say that Mexico and Japan introduced these systems after many people lost their lives. Therefore, they feel that the United States could find a solution if a major earthquake hits.