Oregon Governor Kate Brown has approved $670-thousand for a Eugene utility to purchase sensors for an earthquake early warning system called Shake-Alert.
Eugene Water and Electric Board installed one sensor at Leaburg dam and will put in the other this spring. Doug Toomey is professor of geophysics at the University of Oregon. He’s helping beta-test the shake-alert system. He says the west coast is about 40 percent of the way to a fully functional network of sensors which could give up to 2 minutes warning of a major earthquake.
Toomey: “The important thing in an earthquake is to duck, cover and hold so if you’re given a little bit of warning you can cut down on those injuries. So, to have it be a fully functional system, we simply need to raise the money other countries have done, build out the system so there’s enough sensors and then deliver the messages to the public.”
Mexico and Japan have earthquake early warning systems in place. Toomey says it would take $30 million to build the Shake-alert system along the west coast and $16 million annually to maintain it.