While we were all engrossed by the coronavirus news cycle, three important things happened in the past week. Three earthquakes, to be precise. In the 7.5 magnitude in the Kuril Islands, 6.1 off Ecuador, and 5.7 in Utah. Yes, our earth is still turning while our emergency beds are churning.
Considering the number of fault lines in the US, it may be a good idea to have an earthquake alert app somewhere on your smartphone. There are several in the app store. The best ones send alerts before an earthquake. Here are our picks.
Developed by the UC Berkeley Seismology Lab and sponsored by the State of California Office of Emergency Services, MyShake uses your phone’s accelerometers to collect ground shaking data to help scientists improve the app’s accuracy. In the seconds after an earthquake occurs, the app will send a push notification to users, alerting them that they may soon feel shaking in the event of a 4.5 magnitude earthquake or stronger.
QuakeAlertUSA gives up to 60 seconds of pre-shake warning, enough time to drop to the floor, find cover, and hold on. It does this by using P-wave and S-wave data from the United States Geological Survey to determine where the location and size of the quakes are. The Early Warning Labs cloud server then calculates the individual alerts for all users with personalized time to shaking and intensity.
Earthquake Network uses the accelerometer on more than 5 million smartphones to detect in real-time the shaking induced by an earthquake. When an earthquake is detected, an alert is sent to all the smartphones within the affected area. Users who are not too close to the epicenter, can receive the alert in advance. In many seismic countries, Earthquake Network is the only predictive alert system.