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USGS Scientist Mobilizes with Recon Team to Learn from Mexico's Earthquake Early Warning System

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A few weeks after a magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck central Mexico on Sept. 19, 2017 — leaving hundreds dead and dozens of buildings destroyed — USGS seismologist Elizabeth Cochran and a team of experts mobilized to Mexico City to assess the performance of the Mexico Seismic Warning System (Sistema de Alerta Sísmica Mexicano or SASMEX)  and the public’s perception of the alerts.

A few weeks after a magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck central Mexico on Sept. 19, 2017 — leaving hundreds dead and dozens of buildings destroyed — USGS seismologist Elizabeth Cochran and a team of experts mobilized to Mexico City to assess the performance of the Mexico Seismic Warning System (Sistema de Alerta Sísmica Mexicano or SASMEX)  and the public’s perception of the alerts.

In the company of only Japan and Taiwan, Mexico is one of few countries equipped with a seismic warning system that currently broadcasts publicly. Mexico has been broadcasting in a public regional capacity since 1993 via the Mexico Seismic Warning System, which currently has more than 90 sensors in central and southern Mexico.

Although no one can reliably predict earthquakes, today’s technology is now advanced enough to rapidly detect seismic waves as an earthquake begins and send alerts to surrounding areas before damaging shaking arrives.

“Mexico is one of just a few number of  places around the world that has a warning system and this was also one of the rare times  an early warning system had been activated for a significant earthquake,” said Cochran. “We were interested in how people reacted to the alerts and their overall perceptions of the system in the immediate aftermath of this destructive earthquake.”

 

Continue reading at USGS.

Image via USGS.