(FOX Science)-With the threat of devastating earthquakes looming in California's future, scientists are racing to develop an early warning system, much like Japan's, where mobile alerts are saving lives.
"If we can see the earthquake with more sensors up close, we can learn more about how the earthquakes rupture, and understanding earthquakes better is better for all of us," said Jesse Lawrence, assistant geophysics professor at Stanford University.
The sensors -- called accelerometers -- are cheap and easy to make. Lawrence said they're like the chips in Wii gaming systems, or in laptops.
The challenge is getting them into as many homes and offices as possible, which is where Stanford's Quake Catcher Network comes in.
Across the Bay Area, volunteers like Carl Holzwarth are signing up to help develop the world's largest, low-cost strong motion seismic network. A Silicon Valley engineer -- and seismology enthusiast -- he's agreed to lend the Quake Catcher Network his extra bandwidth space on his home computer for at least a year.
Now, researchers at Stanford University are testing a potential game-changer that relies on a massive array of tiny, low-cost earthquake sensors and a network of volunteers to become quake catchers.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Become an amateur earthquake catcher in California
scientists are looking for Bay Area volunteers to help develop the world's largest, low-cost strong motion seismic network.