China building system to detect earthquakes 3 weeks in advance

Seismologists in China are planning to build an underground monitoring system with up to 2,000 stations that will help to detect earthquakes up to three weeks in advance, state media reported Wednesday.

Earthquake early-warning laboratory Institute of Care-Life will use sensors in the seismically active regions of the Sichuan and neighboring Yunnan Provinces to create the cloud-based system, according to the Global Times.

Wang Tun, the project's lead scientist, told the news outlet the sensors will detect stress and energy dynamics in an area between 4 to 12 miles underground, where most destructive quakes originate.

Data collected by scientists will help to create public forecasts for earthquakes with magnitudes 5.0 and above up to three weeks in advance, according to Wang.

A man walks through the debris of a building that was damaged during an earthquake next to a temple compound in Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan province, China, August 10, 2017.

A man walks through the debris of a building that was damaged during an earthquake next to a temple compound in Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan province, China, August 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

The Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces, located in the southwest part of the country, have a high incidence of quakes, with an average of more than three quakes above magnitude-5.0, according to China Daily.

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The system in the two provinces is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, and then be rolled out nationwide.

The first monitoring station of the planned network was installed last week at the Yingxiu Earthquake Station in Sichuan, site of the deadly 8.0 magnitude earthquake in 2008 that killed nearly 70,000 people and left over 17,000 missing.