US researchers test smartphones for earthquake warning

US researchers test smartphones for earthquake warning

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Crowdsourced Earthquake Warnings. Cell phones can detect ground motion and warn others before strong shaking arrives. Base map originally created by NASA. Artwork credit: Emiliano Rodriguez Nuesch with Pacifico.US: A study led by scientists at the US Geological Survey (USGS) has explored the possibility of using sensors in smartphones and similar devices for building earthquake warning systems. It is believed that GPS receivers in a smartphone can detect the permanent ground movement (displacement) caused by fault motion in a large earthquake. Using crowdsourced observations from participating users’ smartphones, earthquakes could be detected and analysed, and customised earthquake warnings could be transmitted back to users.

Earthquake early warning systems detect the start of an earthquake and rapidly transmit warnings to people and automated systems before they experience shaking at their location. “Most of the world does not receive earthquake warnings mainly due to the cost of building the necessary scientific monitoring networks,” said USGS geophysicist and project lead Benjamin Brooks.

Read more about the study at www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=4189&from=rss_home#.VS4lQtyUdr1