Duck and Cover

Earthquake Early-Warning System Works

Earthquake early warning system for California. (Reed Saxon/AP),Reed Saxon

A computer-generated grapghic is displayed at news conference in Pasadena, Calif., Monday Jan. 28, 2012 to announce legislation to create ane. T earthquake early warning system for California, similar to those in Japan and elsewherhe graphic shows the progression of earthquake shock waves along the an Andreas Fault, from the Salton Sea to downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Next time an earthquake hits Los Angeles, scientists at Caltech will have an extra 30 seconds to get ready. An earthquake early-warning system passed a test Monday morning when it alerted seismologists in Pasadena 30 seconds prior to a 4.7 temblor. The extra seconds could be the difference between life and death in a major quake, giving time for utilities to shut down and trains to stop. Unfortunately, experts estimate placing the monitors across the state will cost up to $80 million. Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey, Romania, China, and Japan already have similar systems in place.