Worried about the big one? Well, you might now be able to breathe a little easier.
The first piece of a new early earthquake warning system has been deployed off of B.C.’s coast.
Developed by Ocean Networks Canada and funded with $5 million from Emergency Management BC, the system involves eight sensors being placed on the sea floor along the Cascadia Subduction Zone – a major fault expected to be the source of any major quake.
They’ll be able to detect shaking and instantly send it to officials, providing the crucial early warning that could be the key to saving lives.
The system involves Titan acceleromoters, encased in glass to resist deep sea pressure, which will be able to detect shaking and offer up to 90 seconds of warning when an earthquake hits.
Once complete, the system will feed data into a network of on-shore sensors, operated by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Natural Resources Canada and the University of British Columbia.
On top of saving lives, that critical information could play a key role in allowing decision makers to protect vital infrastructure by shutting down gas lines, stopping surgeries, and freezing bridge and train traffic.
The first sensor in the network was deployed in June, and has already collected data on several smaller quakes.
Ocean Networks Canada says the move makes B.C. one of the first jurisdictions in the world to install such a system.
UBC recently developed a land-based earthquake early warning system, which has been deployed in 54 B.C. Catholic schools, and 8 public schools.
That system detects precursor energy waves created by a quake, and sends a warning to buzzers installed in the schools giving students time to take shelter.
The province says it is looking into expanding that system to more schools.