eTrans 2019: Wisdom in Response to Disaster: Earthquake Early Warning System

  • 11 September, 2019
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09/11 (Wed) 14:20
Topic: Wisdom in Response to Disaster: Earthquake Early Warning System
Speaker: Prof. Yih-Min Wu (National Taiwan University Research Center for Future Earth, Chairman of the Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University), Jim Lin (Chairman of San Lien Technology Corp)

Starting with the first country developing the early warning system, Prof. Yih-Min Wu and Jim Lin introduced the principle of the system and its application in Taiwan. Using the principle that P waves are faster than S waves and that electromagnetic waves are faster than seismic waves, the system sends out information about the epicenter to the public before the arrival of seismic waves. Early warning systems can be classified into regional and on-site type. The on-site type Taiwan relies on uses the time difference between P wave and S wave and predicts the amplitude of S wave by the waveform of the first three seconds of P wave to provide preliminary earthquake information within 50 kilometers around the epicenter (blind area), which achieves the effect of early warning.

P-Alert accelerometers installed in Taiwan (photo provided by eTrans)

In order to provide a large number of seismographs that an early warning system required, Prof. Yih-Min Wu and San Lien Technology Corp developed low-cost P-Alert accelerometers. Within eight years, a total of 700 P-Alert accelerometers were installed in elementary and junior high schools. They have not only been successfully put to use in earthquakes with a magnitude over 6 in recent years, but also been exported to Southeast Asia, Nepal, India, New Zealand and other countries to assist earthquake-prone areas in the world to develop early warning systems.

P-Alert accelerometers exported to other countries (photo provided by eTrans)

The experience of the 921 earthquake has prompted Taiwanese scholars to make progress in disaster prevention research. The future goal is to share these experiences with other countries and to work together to minimize damage caused by earthquakes.

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Sept 11, 2019


Science Hall, Shiuhkuang Senior High School



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