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This App Could Warn You Against An Upcoming Earthquake

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What would you do with a 40-second warning that an earthquake is coming? An earthquake is a sudden shaking of the ground, which causes great destruction in most cases, ranging from destruction of lands, properties, houses and even taking of innocent lives. For many years, earthquakes have really affected the lives of people as they hardly know when it is on the way. Scientists at the University of California in Berkeley released a Smartphone App they hope one day will let people know a tremor is coming and give them time to move to a safer place.

For now, the MyShake app (available for Android phones) will act as a data collector that will use a phone’s accelerometer to record shaking. If it determines it has the same characteristics as an earthquake, the app will send the data to the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory.

Richard Allen, the developer of the app, said that Smartphones will never replace seismic networks, but the app could help contribute and potentially speed up quake alert systems.

ShakeAlert only issues alerts when four of the traditional seismic stations are triggered, but with mobile phone data, it would only need a station to trigger before an alert is issued. MyShake could be particularly useful in countries like Nepal and Peru, Allen said.

The goal is to get people all over the world to download the app then validate this version and test it. On release day, the app was downloaded by users on six continents. Most of the users were in the United States.

So how does the app know the difference between, say, a person doing an aerobics class and an earthquake? The app has been fed the different characteristics of earthquakes and human activity and it trains the phone to recognize the difference. If the phone thinks the motion it feels is an earthquake, it sends a message to Berkeley for analysis.

This app would go a long way in helping lives and perhaps bring down mortality rates. Do you think this could be the future of earthquake prediction?



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