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In large earthquakes, damaging ground motions may occur at large epicentral distances. Because of the relatively slow speed of seismic waves, it is possible to construct a system to provide short-term warning (as much as several tens of seconds) of imminent strong ground motions from major earthquakes. Automated safety responses could be triggered by users after receiving estimates of the arrival time and strength of shaking expected at an individual site. Although warning times are likely to be short for areas greatly damaged by relatively numerous earthquakes of moderate size, large areas that experience very strong shaking during great earthquakes would receive longer warning times.