University of Utah seismologists will be on duty around-the-clock during the Olympics, armed with a new $1.2 million system so they can quickly supply public safety information if any disruptive earthquakes shake the 2002 Winter Games.
“A basic, real-time earthquake information system has just been completed in Utah’s densely populated Wasatch Front region in time for seismologists to rapidly deliver key information to emergency managers and the public if an ‘Olympics earthquake’ visits Utah,” said Walter Arabasz, director of the University of Utah Seismograph Stations.
The improved earthquake-monitoring system of sensors, computers and telecommunications equipment was made possible with $965,000 in funds and equipment provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and another $235,000 in funds and personnel support from the state of Utah.
The new, real-time earthquake system’s key information product is a ShakeMap ? a rapidly generated computer map, available within about 5 minutes of an earthquake, that gives an overview of the location, severity, and extent of actual ground shaking, just like a Doppler radar image for a weather disturbance.