Funding allows ONC to expand earthquake detection network

The BC government is investing $5 million in Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) to advance the development and use of earthquake early warning systems in BC.

ONC, a University of Victoria initiative, manages and operates world-leading cabled ocean observatories off the coast of southern BC. More than 200 undersea instruments connected to the internet continuously send data in real-time from a range of seafloor environments.

The one-time funding will allow ONC to add more offshore motion sensors and help integrate them with land-based sensors for more robust collection and analysis of seismic activity off the BC coast. Monitoring earthquakes and getting accurate information to people quickly is critical to public safety.

ONC currently collects data from offshore and coastal seismic sensors that will link into networks of land-based sensors from other agencies, including those owned by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Natural Resources Canada and the University of British Columbia.

The new investment will bolster the integrated network of earthquake sensors, increase the reliability and effectiveness of the data and analysis that comes from them, and feed it to a centralized source that can immediately deliver early detection notifications prior to the arrival of damaging earthquake tremors.

Seconds do count. With just a few seconds of warning, automatic systems can slow down trains, shut down gas lines, halt surgeries and keep fire hall bays open. And people can find a place to drop, cover and hold until the shaking stops.

"We’re thrilled to be working with Emergency Management BC to bring our world-leading ocean technology to save lives and reduce damage when an earthquake strikes,” says Kate Moran, president and CEO of ONC. “Making earthquake early warning a reality is rooted in ONC’s vision to enhance life on Earth by providing knowledge and leadership that deliver solutions for science, industry and society."


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Keywords: Ocean Networks Canada, earthquake

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