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Early Quake Warning App Soon Available in Northwest | Oregon, Washington Coast

Published 02/17/21 at 4:46 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Early Quake Warning App Soon Available in Northwest | Oregon, Washington Coast

(Portland, Oregon) – A new app that will send out earlier warnings about earthquakes along the west coast will soon be available to users in Oregon and Washington, allowing for a better heads-up to those on the beaches of the Oregon and Washington coast. (Above: Yachats)

It’s called ShakeAlert®, and it’s currently already in use by the public in California. Oregon’s turn comes March 11 when ShakeAlert® will be downloadable in that state. Washington will follow in May.

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ShakeAlert® was created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and according to numerous experts and geologists it will save many lives.

“Although the U.S. Geological Survey cannot predict where and when future earthquakes will occur, the bureau, along with a team of organizations, helped create a system that can provide vital seconds of warning that an earthquake is happening and shaking is imminent,” the USGS said in a release.

The ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning system is already in place with a network of sensors in the ground and offshore that collect and then share real-time data about an earthquake as it begins. It’s not an earthquake prediction tool – it simply passes along the information to scientists and the public much faster. The sensors take in details about the magnitude, location and expected shaking from earthquakes on the West Coast, then these get released to cell phones and the internet.

“Partners can also initiate automatic protective actions such as stopping trains to prevent derailments and closing water valves to protect infrastructure,” the USGS said.

Along the Oregon and Washington coast this could be particularly useful, especially if it’s one of those offshore mega thrust event scenarios where those on the beaches will only have a minute or so to get off the sands because of an incoming tsunami.

USGS said the Shake Alert system can save lives by reducing injuries by giving people more time to protect themselves, such as moving away from hazardous areas and making sure to drop, cover and hold on. ShakeAlert complements existing products from the Advanced National Seismic System that contribute to earthquake risk reduction.

The agency added ShakeAlert should not be confused with the USGS Earthquake Notification Service (ENS), which is a free, customizable service that sends out automated emails or texts whenever earthquakes occur in whatever area you designate. ENS is NOT an early warning system.

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