British Columbia

Earthquake detectors installed at B.C. schools

New earthquake detectors could buy some B.C. students precious seconds to get to safety before the ground starts shaking.

New sensors developed by UBC are being installed at 50 Catholic and 2 public schools

CBC meteorologist and seismologist Johanna Wagstaffe explains the difference between a quake's P-waves and S-waves 4:52

New earthquake detectors could buy some B.C. students precious seconds to get to safety before the ground starts shaking.

The sensors are being placed on the grounds of 50 Catholic and two public schools in the Lower Mainland as part of a pilot project funded by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and the provincial government.

The detectors are sensitive to waves produced only by earthquakes, and send electronic signals to a computer hub in the university.

After the data is quickly analyzed, an alarm is sounded to all of the schools in the program over the building's speaker system

Program leader Prof. Carlos Ventura of the University of B.C. says the detectors could give up to 40 seconds notice before a quake hits, depending on the location of the epicentre.

Ventura, who's the director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Facility at UBC, says as little as five seconds could make a difference, if it allows students a chance to duck under a desk.

The detectors are expected to start working by the end of the month,

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.