There’s an Earthquake Coming!

August 10, 2021

One Saturday afternoon a few years ago, Richard Allen was riding Bay Area Rapid Transit between Berkeley and Oakland when the train suddenly stopped. "We've had an alert for an earthquake," the conductor announced. "We're going to assess the situation and decide what to do." Allen, the director of the Seismological Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, had spent much of the previous two decades working toward that moment. After a few minutes' orderly wait, the train's journey resumed. Apparently, earthquake early warning, or E.E.W.--the technology that Allen had been championing since 2001--could feel routine, like an everyday inconvenience. Using data derived from every major Californian quake since the late nineteen-eighties, the system had provided the riders with a brief warning of the onrushing quake. It will cost more than sixty million dollars to complete, with an annual maintenance cost of thirty million. Still, Allen and others believe that it can prevent at least half of all injuries in the next major earthquake, while possibly avoiding millions of dollars in damages

The New Yorker