PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Scientists studying earthquake early warning in the United States have received a financial boost.

A foundation on Tuesday awarded $6 million in seed money to the University of California, Berkeley, California Institute of Technology and the University of Washington in a first step toward creating a West Coast warning system.

Several quake-prone countries including Japan have a public alert system that provides a few seconds’ notice after a big quake hits.

Since 2006, California quake researchers and the U.S. Geological Survey have been testing a prototype in the state that only sends messages to select scientists.

The grant was made by the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Scientists estimate a fully functional West Coast alert system would cost $150 million over five years.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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