SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — California’s early earthquake warning system worked as seismologists hoped it would, giving them notice that a quake was about to strike seconds before the ground in Los Angeles began shaking Monday. But residents didn’t get that warning because the state hasn’t identified a source of funding to complete and maintain the warning system.
CalTech seismologist Tom Heaton got the warning seconds before his home began swaying in Southern California as a magnitude 4.4 quake rolled through the area.
“I was sitting there at breakfast, and my laptop computer told me the shaking was coming,” said Heaton.
But, the rest of Southern California didn’t get any warning the earthquake was approaching because no the sensing grid and warning system have not been fully built, even though Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill endorsing the technology in 2013.
“We need to come up with the annual expenses of maintaining the stations, running the software, and getting the telemetry. And, you know a big earthquake tomorrow, the funding might show up the next day,” said CalTech seismologist Lucy Jones.
Earthquakes travel about three miles per second. Meaning the Los Angeles area could get up to thirty seconds warning before a major earthquake along the San Andreas Fault if the system is fully implemented, according to Jones.