The Science of Sustainability

Earthquakes: Breaking New Ground

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It's the holy grail for geologists. Can earthquakes be predicted? Northern California researchers are now identifying the slow-moving clues that may foreshadow violent quakes and studying active faults below the earth's surface. Their work may provide even a few seconds of warning, which in earthquake country can give a vital warning to open elevator doors, slow down trains and alert firefighters.

You may view the "Earthquakes: Breaking New Ground" story online, as well as find additional links and resources.


Sheraz Sadiq is a Segment Producer and Associate Producer for QUEST on KQED Television.

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Category: Geology, Physics, Television

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Sheraz Sadiq

About the Author ()

Sheraz Sadiq is an Emmy Award-winning producer at San Francisco PBS affiliate KQED. In 2012, he received the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism award for a story he produced about the seismic retrofit of the Hetch Hetchy water delivery system which serves the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to producing television content for KQED Science, he has also created online features and written news articles on scientific subjects ranging from astronomy to synthetic biology.
  • http://www.seismicwarning.com Scott

    Dear Sheraz,

    I recently viewed the segment and was impressed. I have to question though, why no mention of existing P-Wave Early Warning Systems that are presently deployed in Fire Stations, Schools and Corporations we're not mentioned. As Dr. Allen mentioned in the segment a "State" system is years and scores of millions of dollars off in the future.

  • e lundburgh

    those of us who share our lives with animals (dogs/cats) have experienced their ability to sense earthquakes hours ahead of the actual P-wave.

    In 1989, having just moved from SF to Benicia, one of my German Shepherd Dogs alerted me to the coming quake more than 12 hrs before it stuck. Uncharacteristically, she awakened me at 4am — had me outside in a field where she kept looking for something. I just didn't understand her, however that afternoon, I left work early from Emeryville because of her strange behavior and was in my kitchen when the earthquake struck, instead on under the MacArthur freeway.

    Therefore, she convinced me that there is something that can be detected prior to a major quake — something that dogs can sense and humans cannot.

    Hope I live long enough for science to figure it out.

    Until then, Casey, thanks and I love you forever! See you on the other side.