New Findings at California Earthquake Conference Ignite Push for Early-Warning System - NBC Bay Area
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New Findings at California Earthquake Conference Ignite Push for Early-Warning System

State Sen. Jerry Hill, D- San Mateo, is pushing a bill to use taxpayer money to help pay for a statewide earthquake early-warning system.

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    New findings at an earthquake conference in Long Beach this week say the San Andreas Fault is primed for a major earthquake. Pete Suratos reports. (Published Thursday, May 5, 2016)

    New findings at an earthquake conference in Long Beach this week say the San Andreas Fault is primed for a major earthquake.

    The new findings is why a State Sen. Jerry Hill, D- San Mateo, is pushing a bill to use taxpayer money to help pay for a statewide earthquake early-warning system.

    "We just heard today that the San Andreas fault in Southern California is 150 years overdue for a big earthquake," Hill said.

    Thursday's findings come months after Hill proposed a bill to use $23 million from the state's general fund to fun a statewide earthquake early-warning system.

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    "There are sensors in the ground that will detect any shaking that begins and then transmit that through California and give a person that has a smartphone, or a siren, or on a warning on TV," Hill said.

    BART and PG&E currently receive alerts from the system, but not the general public.

    BART used the alerts during the Napa earthquake in 2014.

    "When there's an earthquake now they get the alerts and they can stop their BART trains so that they're not rattling down the track," Hill said.

    If the bill passes, Hill said the money would be used to add more sensors around the state to track earthquakes.

    Sarah Minson, a USGS seismologist, said the moment an earthquake hits the sensors would send out alerts.

    "We can send you a warning at the speed of light because that is how fast radio waves, light and broadcast travels," Minson said.

    The bill will go to committee in June and then a final decision will be made when the legislative session closes at the end of August.

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