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California to test earthquake warning system

Researchers in California are reported to be testing an earthquake warning system similar to that which was credited with saving thousands of lives in Japan during the earthquake in March.

The $2M (£1.3M) test system uses underground seismic monitors to send warnings when seismic P waves — known as primary waves or pressure waves — are detected after an earthquake, but before the potentially more dangerous S waves — known as secondary waves or shear waves — are triggered. The full system is expected to cost £51M and take five years to build.

US Geological Survey director Marcia Nutt said that the US must learn from the Japan’s experience of using the warning system during the devastating earthquake earlier this year.

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