After years in development, an earthquake early warning system known as ShakeAlert is on the cusp of being released in Oregon and Washington. The system that spans the West Coast was launched in California in late 2019. It launches to the public in Oregon on March 11, the 10th anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and in Washington in May.

The system was developed through a partnership between the University of Washington and other West Coast universities and the U.S. Geological Survey working with state emergency management districts. The system uses ground sensors across the region to detect the first signals from a rupturing earthquake and then sends that information to computers and phones, providing seconds to tens of seconds of warning of an imminent earthquake.

UW News sat down with Harold Tobin, professor of Earth and space sciences and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, to learn more.

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