USGS

Andy Maguire / Flickr

Congressional Democrats from up and down the West Coast are asking the House Appropriations Committee to allocate more money for a new earthquake early warning system.

The warning system uses sensors to detect the initial, less destructive, waves of an earthquake. So it doesn't give much advance notice -- between a few seconds and a minute.

But politicians argued that's enough for a doctor to stop a complicated surgery, a train driver to put on the brakes, or a family to move away from the windows.

Andy Maguire / Flickr

The new federal budget sent to the president's desk over the weekend included $5 million for an earthquake early warning along the West Coast. 

The proposed early warning system can't predict earthquakes. It's designed to give a heads up about strong shaking coming from a distance. It has worked because electronic signals can travel faster than rumbling over the surface.

Depending on how close you are to the epicenter, U.S. Geological Service geophysicist Doug Given said you could get an alert anywhere between ten seconds to a minute in advance.

Mark Herren / Flickr

Coal has been transported around the country by rail for decades. But very little research has been done on what coal does to the environment when it escapes from trains.With two large coal export terminals proposed for Washington state, one federal agency is hoping to add good science to the debate over coal in the Northwest.


Horemu / Wikimedia Commons

Research geologists just finished a field trial to test a less invasive way to complete seismic hazard surveys. The federal scientists attempted to map an earthquake fault under Seattle simply by listening for underground echoes from all the noise we humans create at the surface.

New Earthquake Maps Are Out

Jul 17, 2014
usgs

The U.S. Geological Survey published its first updated earthquake maps in six years Thursday. The new maps show higher risks in the Pacific Northwest. The new maps are a synthesis of new research and up-to-date modeling techniques, applied to seismic hazards across the country.