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DSSS: Warning When You Need It: Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Smartphones

March 18, 2016 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

DSSS: Richard Allen

Richard Allen, Earth and Planetary Science – University of California, Berkeley

Hosted by Jonathan Ajo-Franklin

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Richard Allen is the Director of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, a Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Earth and Planetary Science at UC Berkeley.  He is an expert in earthquake alerting systems, developing methodologies to detect earthquakes and issue warnings prior to shaking and tsunamis.  His group uses seismic and GPS sensing networks, and is experimenting with the use of a global smartphones network called MyShake.  Testing of the ShakeAlert warning system for the US west coast is currently under way.  Allen’s group also uses geophysical sensing networks to image the internal 3D structure of the Earth and constrain the driving forces responsible for earthquakes, volcanoes and other deformation of the Earth’s surface.  His research has been featured in Science, Nature, Scientific American, the New York Times and dozens of other media outlets around the world.  He has a BA from Cambridge University, a PhD from Princeton University, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech.


Today, 75 institutions get a warning before damaging ground shaking in the western United States.  Legislation in California calls for a public system, and construction has recently begun with federal funding.  This is possible due to recent advances in our understanding of earthquake process coupled with new technologies to collect and distribute information and alerts.  We will review the status of the west-coast ShakeAlert warning system and discuss possible extensions to provide better earthquake warning, and also faster tsunami warnings.  In addition, the reach of our warning systems was recently extended by the MyShake smartphone app designed to recognize earthquake shaking and contribute to better warnings around the globe. Join the MyShake community: myshake.berkeley.edu.


Earth Scientist




1 Cyclotron Road
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