Earthquake can be detected – How?

Earthquakes strike in real time. They can destroy everything in a fraction of a second. Till yesterday, no one would have dreamt of the fact that one could detect an earthquake and that too on our own. But today, this dream is a reality. Some California based seismologists and application developers have joined hands to make this a reality and this could possibly be the first step towards making smart phones a globally recognized device to detect an earthquake.

Thinking that the process must be complicated? The answer is a big ‘NO’. All this is done using a sensor in your device called the ‘accelometer. An accelometer measures forces which are related to acceleration which include vibration, tilt and movement and the gravitation pull. In your device, you usually use an accelorometer to auto-rotate the screen, wherein the tilt function comes into use. But now with the brain-storming innovation of the ‘MyShake app’, the accelorometer in your smartphone might have to cater to a bigger responsibility. A responsibility if fulfilled, would turn this sensor into a life-saving one.

The ‘MyShake’ app would effectively turn your smartphone into a  seismometer. It runs in the background and uses your phone’s built-in accelerometer to detect shaking, and if it detects motion that’s consistent with that of a quake, it will submit data about the quake to seismologists in Berkeley for further and improvised analysis.

This innovation comes a point when the Hindukush region of the Himalayas is under an increased threat of a major earthquake with seismologists around the globe calling for safety measures to be undertaken so that the earthquake does not result into huge number of deaths but with the launch of this app, the Government of India should  launch a nation wide campaign to inform the people about this app so that more and more people power their smartphones with this app which could turn out to be a life saver just in case a major earthquake strikes. Many are suggesting that the app is mostly US-centric which is to be seen to as the app starts to gain popularity globally.



When a smartphone’s MyShake app detects an earthquake, it instantly sends an alert to a central processing site. A network detection algorithm is activated by incoming data from multiple phones in the same area, to “declare” an earthquake, identify its location and estimate its magnitude, the makers of the app said.

With more than hundred-thousand downloads within 6 days of its launch and that too with it launch being on a just a single platform, the app seems to be gaining popularity at quite a good pace but it is yet to seen whether this innovation turn out to be a history changer or a bad failure.

-Muazzam Nasir

Twitter: @muazzamnasir20

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