Seismologists at three West Coast universities will use a $6 million grant to create a prototype earthquake early warning system for the U.S. Pacific coast.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation awarded the grant to the University of California, Berkeley; California Institute of Technology (Caltech); and the University of Washington, Seattle. Scientists will work with the U.S. Geological Survey to learn the best way to capture and analyze seismic data to give schools, utilities, industries and the general public as much notice as possible before the ground begins to shake.
The amount of notice will likely be small--seconds to several minutes--but could save a large number of lives.
"A warning system has the potential to save thousands of lives and millions of dollars in the event of an earthquake, and we feel it is important to resolve any scientific questions that could stand in the way of implementing such a system," Cyndi Atherton, program director for science programs at the foundation, said in a press statement.
Each university will receive $2 million over three years.
"The foundation's grant is a huge contribution to moving forward the science of earthquake early warning systems," Thomas Heaton, director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory and professor of geophysics and of civil engineering at the California Institute of Technology, said in a press statement.
Founded in 2000, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation seeks to advance environmental conservation and scientific research globally and improve quality of life in the San Francisco Bay area.