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Mexico’s Earthquake Early Warning System Gave Some Over a Minute’s Notice

Alissa Walker - Curbed
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September 9, 2017

Update: State of Emergency Continues in Southern Mexico, Emergency Net Could Activate (ARRL)

Mexico was rocked by an 8.1 earthquake last night, the country’s most powerful quake in 100 years. At least <https:"" world="" news="" earthquake-in-mexico-rescue-efforts-continue-as-mexico-quake-death-toll-reaches-61="" article="" 8529.html"="">60 people have been reported dead, a number that may rise in the coming days. But the impact of the disaster may have been substantially lessened thanks to Mexico’s effective early warning system - a life-saving tool that the equally quake-prone Western U.S. still hasn’t implemented.

Thanks to a series of sensors that are installed along Mexico’s fault-riddled West Coast, the early warning system can deliver an alert within seconds of an earthquake. In addition to an app that residents can download, the alert is broadcast on television and radio, and over speakers installed in public areas, schools, and buildings.

The early warning system, known as Sistema de Alerta Sísmica Mexicano or SASMEX, gave some Mexicans over one minute’s warning about last night’s quake, which hit at 11:49 p.m. local time and was epicentered off the Pacific Coast near the Guatemalan border. Mexico City, which is located about 320 miles away from the epicenter, had more than 86 seconds to prepare for the impending shaking.

A map of Mexican cities and how much time they had to prepare for the earthquake thanks to the early warning system (SASMEX)

Mexico’s government pushed for the development of an early warning system after a devastating 1985 earthquake - an 8.0 - that may have killed up to 40,000 people and leveled entire Mexico City neighborhoods. By 1991 the country had the public-announcement system in place, and in 2013 it launched the smartphone app, which now has millions of users.

Read the rest at Curbed

Related: Mexico City’s Earthquake Alert Worked. The Rest of the Country Wasn’t So Lucky (Wired)

Related: Scientists Have Named the Cause of the Catastrophic Earthquake in Mexico (MiceTimes)

Related: When Will California’s Earthquake Early Warning System Be Up and Running (KRON4)

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