China is making impressive strides in developing the world’s largest Earthquake Early Warning System (EEWS). With over 15,000 monitoring stations, three national centers, 31 provincial centers, and 173 prefectural and municipal information release centers, the system aims to provide timely alerts and save lives.
EEWS is expected to be fully operational by the end of this year since the main construction for the entire system has been completed as announced recently by the head of the China Earthquake Administration (CEA), Min Yiren.
It’s important to note that the EEWS does not predict earthquakes. Instead, it detects ground motion as soon as an earthquake starts to develop and swiftly sends alerts to data processing centers. Algorithms quickly determine the earthquake’s location and magnitude, allowing cities and towns to receive advance warnings.
These crucial seconds of preparation can make a significant difference in reducing casualties and damage caused by earthquakes.
While residents near the epicenter may have minimal warning, those farther away can benefit from the EEWS alerts. This system has the potential to save lives and prevent injuries and infrastructure destruction often associated with powerful earthquakes.
The recent devastating earthquakes in Syria and Turkey serve as a reminder of the need for a global EEWS. The combined death toll from the disaster reached approximately 60,000, with over 120,000 people injured.
Wang Tun, head of a prominent earthquake early warning laboratory in China’s Sichuan Province, emphasized the importance of establishing a global network of early warning systems.
He suggested that China, with its expertise in building world-leading EEWS, can share its experience and technologies with the international community.
Wang, who has helped develop EEWS in China, said, “With an early warning of several seconds to 60 seconds, the death toll in an earthquake can be reduced by 30 percent.”
Following the Syria-Turkey earthquake, China promptly deployed satellites to analyze the situation and allocate relief resources. China has been actively constructing various EEWS since the 1990s and established an instant seismic intensity reporting system in 2018 for high-risk regions.
This system can provide countdowns in seconds before an earthquake strikes and detect earthquakes within a minute of their occurrence.
In a press conference, Yiren also revealed that a trial operation for the new EEWS has been conducted in earthquake-prone areas such as Sichuan, Yunnan, Beijing, Tianjin municipalities, Hebei Province, and Fujian Province.