Not A Good Start For "Shake Alert".

  • Thread starter BigDon
  • Start date
In summary: ShakeAlert is not a replacement for traditional emergency notifications. It's a supplement to them. And traditional emergency notifications will continue to be the primary way to get information out to people," de Groot said.The USGS ShakeAlert system was launched in the U.S. in October of last year and has sent out around 60 notifications so far. The system is still in its growth phase and is constantly being improved.
  • #1
So three days ago peeps were boasting that everybody on the West Coast now has access to an earthquake warning system "Shake Alert".

15 minutes ago they sent out a false alarm- A level 6 a mere 170 miles away and no hint of motion here.

USGS doesn't know about any 6 either.

Bad form Shake Alert, bad form.
Physics news on
  • #2
I put it on my phone about 6 months ago, but removed it the same day. It kept my phone's "Location" feature in high-power GPS mode, which drained my battery too fast for my taste. I didn't see an option to set it to my normal "battery saving" mode, which is fairly accurate for the purposes of earthquake alerts, IMO.
  • Like
Likes BigDon
  • #3

Thank you very much Mr. Berkman. I was wondering about my battery issues. Now I know.

(Still going to need one of my kids to fix it. Grandpa and the VCR syndrome.)
  • Like
Likes berkeman
  • #4
Looks like the false alarm happened because only one monitoring station was in position to see it quickly, and it generated the false alarm. Normally there are several monitoring stations nearby, and a verification is carried out by the system before sending the alert out. The system is still in its growth phase...

"One of the critical pieces of information with any earthquake is to know where it's located," said Robert de Groot, USGS ShakeAlert national coordinator. "When you know about where the earthquake is located, then you can get a sense of how the region around it is going to shake."

In this case, the system, which uses underground sensors to detect an earthquake, actually misread where the quake was located because there was only one station in the area. As a result, the quake ended up being closer to Truckee and turned out to only be a 4.7 on the scale. Some Bay Area residents were notified to take cover because the system thought the quake would be bigger.

1. What is "Shake Alert" and why is it not a good start?

"Shake Alert" is a new earthquake early warning system being developed for the West Coast of the United States. Its initial test run on June 22, 2021 was not considered a good start because it did not sufficiently detect or notify people of a recent earthquake in Southern California.

2. Who is responsible for creating "Shake Alert" and why is there concern over its performance?

"Shake Alert" is being developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in partnership with universities, state agencies, and private companies. There is concern over its performance because the system is still in its early stages and has not been fully tested or implemented.

3. How does "Shake Alert" work and why is it important?

"Shake Alert" uses a network of sensors to detect and measure earthquake activity, and then sends out alerts to warn people of potential shaking. It is important because it can provide crucial seconds or even minutes of warning before the shaking reaches a specific location, allowing people to take protective actions.

4. What are the limitations of "Shake Alert" and how are they being addressed?

The current limitations of "Shake Alert" include its limited coverage and potential for false alarms. To address these issues, the USGS and its partners are working to expand the sensor network and improve the algorithms used to detect earthquakes, as well as implementing a system to differentiate between false alarms and actual earthquakes.

5. When will "Shake Alert" be fully operational and available to the public?

The goal is to have "Shake Alert" fully operational by 2023, with early warning alerts available to the public by 2025. However, this timeline is subject to change as the system is still in development and testing.

Suggested for: Not A Good Start For "Shake Alert".