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Quake summit focuses on ‘the Really Big One’

Image: Quake simulation
A simulation shows the kind of alert that would be generated by an 8.0 quake. (PNSN via YouTube)

The Pacific Northwest mega-quake known as “the Really Big One” may not be televised, but a White House summit focusing on earthquake preparedness will be streamed online next Tuesday.

The White House says new commitments to adopt an earthquake early-warning system for the United States will be announced at its Earthquake Resilience Summit, due to be live-streamed starting at 9:30 a.m. PT Tuesday.

Researchers from the University of Washington are heavily involved in developing such a system through the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, or PNSN – and in a series of tweets, PNSN said the system could go public as early as this year.

“A year depends on it being ready,” UW seismologist John Vidale, the network’s director, told GeekWire today. It’s not yet ready for prime time, but PNSN has shared a video showing how the ShakeAlert system could provide 28 seconds’ worth of advance warning about a magnitude-8 quake off the coast of Oregon.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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