Satellite-based earthquake early warning system tested against Chilean great quakes | 2/6/2018 | Staff
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Researchers testing a satellite-based earthquake early warning system developed for the U.S. West Coast found that the system performed well in a "replay" of three large earthquakes that occurred in Chile between 2010 and 2015. Their results, reported in the journal Seismological Research Letters, suggest that such a system could provide early warnings of ground shaking and tsunamis for Chile's coastal communities in the future.

The early warning module, called G-FAST, uses ground motion data measured by Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) to estimate the magnitude and epicenter for large earthquakes—those magnitude 8 and greater. These great quakes often take place at subducting tectonic plate boundaries, where one plate thrusts beneath another plate, as is the case off the coast of Chile and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Data - Chile - GNSS - Stations - Brendan

Using data collected by Chile's more than 150 GNSS stations, Brendan Crowell of the University of Washington and his colleagues tested G-FAST's performance against three large megathrust earthquakes in the country: the 2010 magnitude 8.8 Maule, the 2014 magnitude 8.2 Iquique, and the 2015 magnitude 8.3 Illapel earthquakes.

G-FAST was able to provide magnitude estimates between 40 to 60 seconds after the origin time of all three quakes, providing magnitude estimates that were within 0.3 units of the known magnitudes. The system also provided estimates of the epicenter and fault slip for each earthquake that agreed with the actual measurements, and were available 60 to 90 seconds after each earthquake's origin time. "We were surprised at how fast G-FAST was able to converge to the correct answers and how accurately we were able to characterize all three earthquakes," said Crowell.

Earthquake - Warning - Systems - Measure - Properties

Most earthquake early warning systems measure properties of seismic waves to quickly characterize an earthquake. These systems often cannot collect enough information to determine how a large earthquake will grow and as a result may underestimate the...
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