Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Earthquake early warning ShakeAlert system; testing and certification platform

Elizabeth S. Cochran, Monica D. Kohler, Douglas D. Given, Stephen Guiwits, Jennifer Andrews, Men-Andrin Meier, Mohammad Ahmad, Ivan Henson, Renate Hartog and Deborah Smith
Earthquake early warning ShakeAlert system; testing and certification platform
Seismological Research Letters (January 2018) 89 (1): 108-117


Earthquake early warning systems provide warnings to end users of incoming moderate to strong ground shaking from earthquakes. An earthquake early warning system, ShakeAlert, is providing alerts to beta end users in the western United States, specifically California, Oregon, and Washington. An essential aspect of the earthquake early warning system is the development of a framework to test modifications to code to ensure functionality and assess performance. In 2016, a Testing and Certification Platform (TCP) was included in the development of the Production Prototype version of ShakeAlert. The purpose of the TCP is to evaluate the robustness of candidate code that is proposed for deployment on ShakeAlert Production Prototype servers. TCP consists of two main components: a real-time in situ test that replicates the real-time production system and an offline playback system to replay test suites. The real-time tests of system performance assess code optimization and stability. The offline tests comprise a stress test of candidate code to assess if the code is production ready. The test suite includes over 120 events including local, regional, and teleseismic historic earthquakes, recentering and calibration events, and other anomalous and potentially problematic signals. Two assessments of alert performance are conducted. First, point-source assessments are undertaken to compare magnitude, epicentral location, and origin time with the Advanced National Seismic System Comprehensive Catalog, as well as to evaluate alert latency. Second, we describe assessment of the quality of ground-motion predictions at end-user sites by comparing predicted shaking intensities to ShakeMaps for historic events and implement a threshold-based approach that assesses how often end users initiate the appropriate action, based on their ground-shaking threshold. TCP has been developed to be a convenient streamlined procedure for objectively testing algorithms, and it has been designed with flexibility to accommodate significant changes in development of new or modified system code. It is expected that the TCP will continue to evolve along with the ShakeAlert system, and the framework we describe here provides one example of how earthquake early warning systems can be evaluated.

ISSN: 0895-0695
EISSN: 1938-2057
Serial Title: Seismological Research Letters
Serial Volume: 89
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Earthquake early warning ShakeAlert system; testing and certification platform
Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, Pasadena, CA, United States
Pages: 108-117
Published: 201801
Text Language: English
Publisher: Seismological Society of America, El Cerrito, CA, United States
References: 25
Accession Number: 2018-052299
Categories: Seismology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch maps
N33°30'00" - N34°30'00", W119°00'00" - W117°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: California Institute of Technology, USA, United StatesUniversity of California at Berkeley, USA, United StatesUniversity of Washington, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2018, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Seismological Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 2018
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal