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(LEAD) Mobile stations to expand earthquake-monitoring network in S. Korea

All News 15:51 July 09, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES dateline; ADDS details in paras 5-8; UPDATES caption)

SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) -- Leading mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. said Thursday it will install earthquake sensors at its mobile network base stations across the country, a move that can help expand readiness against natural disasters.

Earthquakes have become a matter of public concern in South Korea in recent years with 88 earthquakes detected in the country last year, compared with an average of 70 over the decade since 1999.

SK Telecom said it will install plug-in type earthquake sensors in 8,000 locations across the country, including its base stations and public buildings, in partnership with the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) and Kyungpook National University, by the end of this year.

Currently, the country has a network of 338 seismic monitors.

An SK Telecom Co. engineer inspects the carrier's earthquake sensor in a controlled environment at a laboratory in Hwaseong, south of Seoul, in this photo provided by SK Telecom on July 9, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The carrier demonstrated how its sensor system works on a mock 6.0-magnitude earthquake in Hwaseong, just south of Seoul. The sensor is able to record 100 vibrations per second that is sent to the KMA for faster and more accurate alerts to the public, according to SK Telecom.

The three parties will test the network until next year and could expand its use to more public facilities, the carrier said.

"The sensor remains in the research phase as the system needs precise data of trusted quality to prevent false alerts," said Lee Ji-min, a senior researcher at the KMA's Earthquake and Volcano Research Division

The sensors will help reduce the time it takes to send alerts once they improve in accuracy, Lee added.

South Korea has ramped up on earthquake safety measures since 2016 when a 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit the southeastern city of Gyeongju, 276 kilometers south Seoul, and left 23 injured.

The KMA is currently able to send earthquake alerts to the public in 7 to 25 seconds.

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr
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