Limitations of Earthquake Warnings

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Limitations of Earthquake Warnings

How long of an alert can you expect?


How much of an advanced warning anyone receives will depend on how far away the earthquake’s epicenter is from their location. Warning times can range from seconds to minutes.

As of right now, it takes roughly ten seconds to detect the earthquake and send a notification. That means that those closest to the epicenter may not receive a warning at all. But those outside of about 20 miles from the epicenter will receive a warning of just a few seconds. Those that have the most warning may not experience significant shaking by the time the earthquake’s effects actually reach them.

As the system develops, the warning time will increase. Increasing the number of sensors will decrease the number of people who would have otherwise gotten no warning at all. In addition, as the ability to process data and communicate effectively increases, the amount of warning will also increase. Making the system as automated as possible will help increase the warning time as well.

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