Starting this month, earthquakes of magnitude 4.5 or higher will draw alerts on ShakeAlertLA; the previous threshold was 5.0.
California has been testing the Shake Alert System, which is run by the US Geological Survey and other state and university partners; it’s designed to detect significant earthquakes and alert as many residents as possible seconds before any shaking begins. The system will eventually cover the entire West Coast, according to its website.
The US Geological Survey, the Annenberg Foundation and AT&T, CNN’s parent company, worked together to combine the Geological Survey’s sensor network with mobile app technology.
The earthquakes caused some structure and road damage, and fallen power lines meant electrical outages. Although there were no deaths or major injuries in either quake, the jolts were a wakeup call, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
CalTech seismologist Lucy Jones described the effect like throwing a rock into a pond, with strong waves where the rock breaks the water and longer, slower waves farther out.
Garcetti said in a statement, “Every day we are communicating the importance of preparedness, so that every Angeleno has the tools and resources they need to build a better life — and then protect that life when disaster strikes. Updates to ShakeAlertLA will result in an even more responsive application making our city stronger and our families safer.”
The mayor’s office said that tools like ShakeAlertLA are meant to help warn residents but not to replace the need to plan and prepare for an earthquake.