Future Sources of Ground Motion Measurements

In the future, additional sources of ground motion observations may be integrated in the EEW algorithms. Additional data may be able to help reduce the time to detection and improve early estimates of earthquake magnitude and location. Some examples include:

  1. Real-time GPS displacements. Throughout California and the Pacific Northwest there are hundreds of high sample rate Global Positioning System sensors that provide very accurate measurements of ground displacement. Measurements of ground displacement can be very useful for identifying large earthquakes that can have centimeters to meters of ground displacement. It can be challenging to recover displacements in real time because very accurate information is needed on the orbits of the GPS satellites. Several groups are currently developing algorithms to estimate GPS positions accurately in real-time and methods to integrate the information into existing EEW algorithms.
  2. Low-cost sensors hosted in homes, businesses, and schools. New sensor technologies have greatly reduced the cost of lower-resolution strong motion seismometers. These sensors use micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometers that are contained on a single computer chip. Several groups have been exploring ways to utilize theses sensors to increase the number of strong motion sensors in urban areas. Two examples include the Quake-Catcher Network and the Community Seismic Network which connect sensors to personal computers installed in homes, businesses, and schools.