Member-supported news for Southern California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Support for KPCC comes from:

Northridge: CA's quake warning system runs on shoe-string budget

Ways to Subscribe

The massive quake that hit Southern California in 1994 came without warning. How close is California to an earthquake warning system?

This is one in a weeklong series of stories on KPCC leading up to Friday's 20th anniversary of the devastating 1994 Northridge Earthquake. The series will explore the quake's history, its effects and its legacy. You can view more stories on our Northridge Anniversary page. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page, on Twitter ("@" mention @KPCC) and in the comments below.

The 1994 Northridge earthquake came as a total surprise: That magnitude 6.7 temblor shook on a previously unidentified fault and caused at least 57 deaths and more than 9,000 injuries.

Twenty years later, how close are we to predicting the next earthquake?

In the future, Californians may get a warning — as much as a minute or more — before certain kinds of earthquakes start to shake their homes and offices, but only if the state can find a way to expand the bare-bones early warning system currently being developed.

RELATED: Timeline: Northridge Earthquake devastates L.A. in 1994

Caltech, UC Berkeley and the U.S. Geological Survey are testing an earthquake early warning system that relies on sensors placed around the state. These sensors can detect the tiniest of vibrations. KPCC's Sanden Totten reports. 

Stay Connected