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Earthquake early-warning system proposed by California lawmaker

January 28, 2013 |  8:44 am

Me.legisA state lawmaker is proposing to have California create an earthquake early warning system based on recent scientific breakthroughs.

State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) plans to unveil his legislation on Monday at the California Institute of Technology Seismological Laboratory in Pasadena, where he will be joined by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Caltech and UC Berkeley.

Padilla's proposal follows the release three weeks ago of a study by Caltech and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology that concluded for the first time that a quake involving both the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas might be possible.

Enhancing the California Integrated Seismic Network, seismologists propose a system that would process data from sensors throughout the state. It would detect the strength and the progression of earthquakes and provide up to 60 seconds of warning before potentially damaging ground shaking is felt, Padilla said.

“A fully developed earthquake early warning system would provide Californians critical seconds to take cover, assist loved ones, pull to the side of the road, or exit a building,'' said Padilla, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate. "It could allow time to stop a train or power down other critical infrastructure.''


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Photo: State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima). Credit: Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times