Abigail Klein Leichman
July 9, 2023

Canada’s Ministry of Natural Resources has provided funding to Tel Aviv University (TAU) to develop software aimed at improving Canada’s Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) systems, Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced on June 27.

“We are pleased to bring Tel Aviv University’s world-leading expertise to Canada, helping us gain access to the earliest, most accurate alerts for earthquakes and tsunamis,” Wilkinson said.

TAU, he said, “is the recognized world leader in the field of small-aperture seismic arrays that can improve EEW performance for cross-border and offshore events and is a responsible choice for the safety of Canadians.”

There are approximately 5,000 earthquakes across Canada each year.

Canada’s EEW systems originally were developed by TAU in collaboration with Israeli high-tech company SeismicAI, which has an exclusive license for the technology and has successfully deployed and tested it across the world.

This new project’s goal is to enhance the performance of EEW systems in coastal and border regions where traditional EEW sensor station grids are challenging to deploy. These regions may experience high seismic risks, requiring tailored approaches for effective early warning.

The enhanced EEW system should provide more comprehensive coverage and earlier alerts, allowing people in at-risk regions more time to take proactive measures, such as “drop, cover, and hold on,” before the earthquake hits.

“Of all the earthquake mitigation actions that may be considered for Canada, the array-based earthquake early warning is the most practical and most cost-effective one. I truly believe that the setting up of such a system is an important step toward building earthquake-resilient communities in Canada,” said TAU Prof. Alon Ziv.

Starting in 2024, people in the highest at-risk regions of Canada will be able to receive an emergency notification or alert that an earthquake has occurred and that they should take immediate steps to protect themselves and minimize damage to property.

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