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New Technology Brings Earthquake Sensors to Jerusalem Schools

The Jerusalem municipality is installing the country's most advanced network of sensors to warn of potential earthquakes.
By Annie Lubin
First Publish: 1/14/2013, 9:01 AM

Buildings in Jerusalem
Buildings in Jerusalem
Israel news photo: Flash 90

In a large scale project which began about two weeks ago, the Jerusalem municipality is in the process of installing the country's largest and most advanced network of sensors designed to warn of potential earthquakes in the region.  

Israel lies on the Syrian-African fault line, and the Jordan Rift Valley is part of an active fault zone. While most of the tremors experienced in Israel rank low on the Richter Scale, local geologists have warned that the region is due for a major earthquake.

The new system, which is synchronized with Home Front Command, will be installed in about 130 of Jerusalem's older schools and has already been successfully installed in 21 schools throughout the city.

The new technology has been in use for several years in Japan and is based on wireless IP technology which allows it to work at lightning speed. The system monitors specific frequencies common to earthquake microtremors and responds to an emergency situation within milliseconds, allowing for maximum response time and an increased likelihood of reaching a safe place. 

The city will also align sensors along 100 kilometers of the Syrian-African Rift to the north and south of the city, from Tiberias to Ein Yahav, which is the likeliest source of such an earthquake.  In order to avoid false positives, at least two sensors have to go off at the same time for the system to register a tremblor.

In 2009, the Israeli Ministry of Education recommended installing the system and the government has offered a free program to the public to reinforce residential buildings against the threat of an earthquake.