How Useful is Early Warning and Can It Be Made More Effective?

  • M. WyssEmail author
  • F. Wenzel
  • J. Daniell
Part of the Advanced Technologies in Earth Sciences book series (ATES)


The methods to detect the development of a large earthquake at an early time and to issue an appropriate warning have made great progress. Nevertheless, for population centers at risk, warnings can generally be issued only about 5–10 s before the strong shaking arrives. Systems and facilities that can benefit from a warning with such a short lead time include: Transportation systems, fire departments, medical facilities, schools, industrial plants, petroleum and gas pipelines, elevators, and power plants. However, for the population at home in vulnerable apartment buildings or at work in office buildings and factories that may not have been built following modern codes, the warning is too short for a person to reach a safe place. Although taking cover under a table can protect a person from falling objects, a structurally strong Earthquake Protection Unit (EPU) is required to save lives and limbs in a partially collapsing building. If a culture of earthquake awareness and the knowledge of early warning capabilities were developed, in which strong earthquakes closets could be bought in the lumber yard like tornado shelters, then the fine advances in earthquakes early warning could result in lives saved.


Ground Motion Early Warning Strong Earthquake Large Earthquake Human Development Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



M. Wyss thanks the support of the JTI Foundation, based in Switzerland. J. Daniell thanks the General Sir John Monash Foundation of Australia for their generous support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.World Agency for Planetary Monitoring and Earthquake Risk ReductionGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Geophysical InstituteKarlsruhe Institute for TechnologyKarlsruheGermany

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