RESEARCH: A Few Seconds of Warning


Margaret Hellweg, part of a research team funded by a CLAS/CONICYT grant, shares their findings on earthquake prevention technology in Chile and California.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, August 24, 2014, people in the San Francisco Bay Area were jolted awake by an earthquake. Initially, nobody knew the size of the quake, where the epicenter was located, or what damage could be expected. Only a few people on watch in the offices of San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management, the Police Department of the University of California, Berkeley, and the control center for the Bay Area Rapid Transit’s train system (BART) knew what was happening before they felt the shaking: an earthquake of magnitude 6.0 struck the city of Napa at 3:21 a.m., Pacific Time. These offices had the ShakeAlert User Display running on their computers and received its rapid alert prepared within five seconds of the start of the earthquake rupture and before the strong shaking started at their locations...

Margaret Hellweg
Publication date: 
August 19, 2015
Publication type: 
Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies Article