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Utah looking to implement earthquake warning for phones

Jens Aber

Utah is looking into whether to implement a new system warning Utahns about imminent earthquakes.

Functioning similarly to an AMBER Alert, the system in question would use the state’s seismograph networks to provide residents notice about imminent earthquakes. Notices could potentially be provided anywhere from a few seconds to a minute’s notice, allowing people to quickly shift gears and prepare themselves for any potential danger.

Bill Keach, a geologist for the state, says that whenever an earthquake occurs, there’s different types of waves that are more damaging than others. The first wave of an earthquake is the least damaging so if they could calculate it, officials could send out immediate notices before longer and more damaging waves arrive.

Having this sort of system would help avoid potential catastrophic damage, as these quick notices could provide a heads up to shut utilities off or would tell transit systems to stop movement. Keach says a similar system is already being used in Japan and that some western states have looked into using it.

$150,000 has been funded by the Utah State Legislature to determine if it would be possible to implement this early warning system.

Jared Gereau is pursuing a Journalism major with an emphasis in Social Media at Utah State University. He is planning on using his experience to pursue a career with USU Athletics sometime after he graduates. In his free time, Jared enjoys watching movies, playing games and creating content for his YouTube channel.