West Coast earthquake alert system half complete, to use same system used for Amber Alerts

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KGET) — Even before Thursday’s magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck near Ridgecrest, officials were in the process of slightly lowering the threshold for public alerts from its earthquake early warning app.

That change gave scientists at the California Institute of Technology’s seismology lab a 48-second warning but did not trigger a public notification of Thursday’s temblor, according to the Associated Press.

Construction of a network of seismic-monitoring systems is just over half complete, according to the AP.

“Our goal is to alert people who might experience potentially damaging shaking, not just feel the shaking,” said Robert de Groot, a spokesman for U.S. Geological Survey’s ShakeAlert system.

The AP reported the West Coast ShakeAlert system has provided non-public earthquake notifications to test users such as emergency agencies, schools, transportation systems and industries. The notifications are provided on a daily basis.

California is partnering with the federal government to build a statewide earthquake warning system, according to the AP. The goal is to turn it on by June 2021.

At least $25 million has been spent building the system, including installing hundreds of seismic stations throughout the state.

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