Defense Department, USGS to study Mexican earthquakes
The U.S. Geological Survey and Department of Defense on Wednesday announced a half-million-dollar investment to install earthquake-monitoring machines in the Mexicali and Tijuana areas after last year’s Mexicali earthquake revealed huge gaps in detecting tremors south of the border.
U.S. and Mexican officials, speaking at a news conference at the U.S. Geological Survey office in Pasadena, said the monitoring equipment is critical so that quake scientists can identify the worst hit areas quickly and tell authorities where to send emergency crews.
Outdated quake detection equipment in Mexico last year meant that hours went by before officials knew exactly where the worst-hit areas were located.
Officials are aiming to make U.S. and Mexican quake-monitoring systems compatible with each other. The upgraded Mexican system also could be used as a backup in the event the U.S. earthquake-monitoring system fails during a major quake.
The $500,000 investment in the program came from the U.S. Northern Command, an arm of the Defense Department created after the Sept. 11 attacks to coordinate natural disaster relief operations domestically and in neighboring countries.
The Mexican government is separately spending $50 million to upgrade its own earthquake-monitoring systems.
-- Rong-Gong Lin II in Pasadena
Photo: Damage from the Mexicali earthquake.
Credit: Los Angeles Times