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Earthquake Early Warning Systems

Earthquake early warning systems work by identifying the fast-moving P-wave that is released when an earthquake occurs. The non-destructive P-wave arrives anything up to around 90 seconds earlier than the secondary waves (S-waves) that are responsible for the destructive effect of the earthquake. Early warning monitoring systems are designed to recognise P-waves as soon as they arrive and then use the very small window before the S-waves arrive to raise alerts and/or trigger automated shut-down procedures.

Due to the incredibly short intervals between P-wave and S-wave arrivals, especially near the epicentre, the most critical aspect of an early warning system is the speed at which it can receive and process the p-wave signal and then transmit the data to a control centre or alert system.
Over the years at Güralp, we have developed increasingly more sophisticated digitisers, capable of delivering the low-latency data-processing and transmission required for effective early warning systems.


The Minimus Digitiser

Our research and investment in this area led to the launch, in 2016, of the Minimus digitiser. The Minimus features a low-latency mode for early warning operation and a unique ultra-low-latency streaming transmission protocol, GDI-link. Specifically designed to deliver market-leading processing and transmission speed, the Minimus is capable of processing the data and achieving network transmission in just 40 milliseconds. You can read more about how Minimus achieves this here.

The Minimus can process simultaneous data from two seismic sensors: our Radian sensor plus any analogue sensor. It is also available as a digital acquisition module for our ocean bottom seismometers. During 2017, we extended the Minimus' early warning functionality to include voting capability for larger arrays featuring multiple instrument hubs. We also added triggering algorithms for Common Alert Protocol (CAP), the XML based data format used for providing public emergency warnings - once triggered, a CAP receiver can send SMS messages, email notifications or CAP forwarding to registered users.


Please contact us if you would like to know more about our instruments for earthquake early warning.


minimus 400- x 300



The low-latency mode on the Minimus offers unparalleled performance for earthquake early warning.


comms 210 x 80


Operation, data management, maintenance



Guralp Systems Limited
Midas House
Calleva Park

Tel: +44 118 981 9056
Fax: +44 118 981 9943