Earthquake Early Warning

Earthquake early warning systems detect earthquakes already in progress. EEW is not earthquake prediction. An EEW system detects the first seismic waves and determines if there will be significant shaking. The system will send an alert in the event there is significant shaking expected. EEW systems trigger automated actions, to include slowing down trains, closing water valves, opening firehouse doors, and starting back-up generators. EEW systems also may trigger public alerts to individuals.
Systems for EEW exist around the world. Mexico, Japan, Romania, Italy, China, Taiwan, Israel, and Costa Rica have some level of EEW systems, to name a few! ShakeAlert® is the earthquake early warning system for the west coast of the United States. California, Oregon, and Washington provide alerts for automated actions.
If you feel shaking or get an alert, immediately Drop, Cover, and Hold on. Do not wait because seconds matter.

  • 5 Number of Resources

Rocket Rules Activity and Coloring Book for Earthquake Science!
Time: / Level: Novice

Let Rocket be your expert guide through all things earthquake science! Learn about earthquakes through coloring pages, crosswords, matching activities, and so much more.

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ShakeAlert: Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast
Time: 4m 35s / Level: Novice

This new animation (2020) describes the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning app: How it works, why we should have it. Made in collaboration with governmental agencies and universities on the West Coast.

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What you should do when Earthquake Early Warning comes to the West Coast
Time: 1m 52s / Level: Novice

The ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast of the United States aims to provide seconds to tens of seconds of early warning before earthquake shaking strikes. ShakeAlert® is not earthquake prediction, but quickly detects the first arriving seismic wave to provide an alert before more damaging seismic shaking arrives at your location. For more information, visit

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Earthquake Early Warning: Pacific Northwest subduction zone
Time: 6m 55s / Level: Novice

This animation by UNAVCO shows us how an earthquake warning system uses existing seismic networks to detect moderate to large earthquakes. Computers, communications technology, and alarms are devised to notify the public while an earthquake is in progress.

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Mexico: Earthquakes & Tectonics
Time: 7m 46s / Level: Novice

In 1985, a Great, magnitude 8.1 subduction zone earthquake occurred beneath the coast of Michoacan, Mexico causing over 9,000 fatalities over 350 km away. What caused it and how has Mexico instituted their Earthquake Early Warning system? This animation describes the mechanics.

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