Courtesy of Ben Tsai
Seismological engineer Ben Tsai says Los Altos’ geology is similar to the Pacific plate that triggered the recent earthquake in Taiwan.
Within seconds of the first tremors, Los Altos resident Ben Tsai received the report of the 6.4 Tainan City, Taiwan, earthquake that struck Feb. 6. It was shortly after noon in Los Altos and, by chance, Tsai was presenting a paper on earthquakes in the Memoirs Writing Class at Hillview Community Center when the first alert reached him.
The pre-dawn disaster was announced by auto-report. Sensitive automatic monitors alerted geologists and others on the network within seconds of sensing the clashing of the tectonic plates under the city of Tainan. The information was broadcast immediately to locations and scientists with receptors around the world. Because sound waves travel faster than the motion of the plates deep underground, the warning system provides surrounding communities earlier notice than they would have received prior to its installation. Advanced technology cannot control or prevent earthquakes, but it allows populated areas more time to seek safe shelters.