Earthquake early warning system gets a $4 million boost from USGS

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<Dr. Evil Voice>Four Million Dollars</Dr. Evil Voice>

What a fucking joke.


Someone read that very nicely written disaster porn.

If the US (and US telecoms) are going to start using similar earthquake early warning systems as we have in Japan, they should also start using the 7-point shindo scale or something similar.
The shindo scale, which measures the amount of shaking at the surface in various areas allows me to set my phone to alert me for anything that will measure a shindo 4 or higher where I am (or where I’ll be over the weekend, etc.). So there may be a reasonably small 6.8 magnitude quake 20 km deep, but only 100 km north and my phone goes off. The same quake 300km away wouldn’t set my phone off, but that 8.8 magnitude we had a 1000 km away a few months ago set off everyone’s phones about 12 seconds before anything started happening.

Like with thunder and lightening, the gap between the alarm and the shake gives you a sense of how close the hit was. Unlike with thunder and lightning, the sound reaches at the same time or before the damaging hit, so there’s a chance to jump out of the way of something overhead or away from a window or turn off the gas cooker, etc…

They’re going to pay my dog? He knows.

The US uses the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale to quantify local shaking. It has 12 steps, and uses Roman numerals to avoid confusion with magnitude numbers.

And, yeah, I’d love to have my phone alert me to, say, anything that will produce Mercalli VII or higher at my location.

(I personally have experienced Mercalli IX, which looks about equivalent to 6-lower (6弱) on the shindo scale.)

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I haven’t seen the media or general public use / refer to the Mercalli scale. Is that just me not noticing, is it in the early stages of being adopted, orr is it something that is really just for the geo-geeks?

A twelve point scale does sound more sensible than our 1-7 nine-point scale. When speaking, the Roman numeral would lose their differentiation, but for writing that seems clever. In Japan we use the words “shindo” and “magnitude” to be especially clear, but in short hand chitchat, magnitude is always something point something and shindo is a single digit. (ie: “It was a 6.0” vs “It was a 4 here in Chiyoda-ku”.)

If you are right over the quake, too bad. You find out when the sensors find out.
Got to avoid false alarms. If it cries Wolf too many times… Tricky when you want to be warning people before the all the sensors nearby have recorded the quake, and before the quake is finished shaking.
Needs to be incorporated in Emergency plans. People need to know what is and what to do immediately.

It’s amazing how fast a quake travels on the internet. Twitter moves faster than ground vibrations.

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You forgot the pinky finger on the mouth part!.

Is there an emoji for that?

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Yeah, we need one. Also, …!.. :wink:

The Mercalli Scale has been used by seismologists for a long time. The general public isn’t terribly aware of it, though there are a lot of civilian ‘quake geeks’ here in Southern California who understand it.

But the general public and the media seldom mention it.

The “point something” is important in magnitude scales, since they’re logarithmic - a difference of 0.2 in magnitude is twice as much energy released, producing half again as much shaking. A Mag 5.7 releases twice the energy of a Mag. 5.5.

The Mercalli scale, OTOH, is just just a progression of steps, each representing a bit more violent shaking than the previous one. There’s no 10x-per-step logarithmic progression.

And, yeah, based on my experience, 7 steps is too few - as is obvious from the “1-7 nine-point” scale (-:

I hope to never experience anything over Mercalli IX, but I realize it’s quite possible near major faults in Great Quakes.

Thankfully, Mercalli XII is quite rare. (-:

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