You never know when an earthquake will hit, and next month an app already active in California will be available to warn of any earthquakes to those on the beaches of the Oregon and Washington coast. Clearly, this app can be extremely useful in a nightmare scenario where an offshore earthquake triggers a tsunami on the west coast, giving those in the area very little time to get to safety.
“Although the U.S. Geological Survey cannot predict where and when future earthquakes will occur, the bureau, along with a team of organizations, helped create a system that can provide vital seconds of warning that an earthquake is happening and shaking is imminent,” the USGS said in a release.
The ShakeAlert app, created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) works with a network of sensors already in place. The ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning system consists of sensors in the ground, and offshore that collect and then share real-time data about an earthquake when it hits.
“Partners can also initiate automatic protective actions such as stopping trains to prevent derailments and closing water valves to protect infrastructure,” the USGS said.
While it does not predict the earthquake, it is able to pass along information to scientists and the public much quicker. The information relayed includes magnitude, location, and expected shaking from earthquakes on the West Coast, and will notify the internet and mobile devices.
According to the USGS, the system is able to save lives by reducing injuries and giving people enough time to get to safety by moving away from hazardous areas and making sure to drop, cover and hold on.
As mentioned by USGS, their products should not be confused with the USGS Earthquake Notification Service (ENS) – a free, customizable service that sends out automated emails or texts whenever earthquakes occur in whatever area you designate. ENS is NOT an early warning system.
At this time, two mobile apps powered by ShakeAlert are available to the public and can be downloaded for free in the Apple iTunes and Google Play store. Head over to their main site here to learn how to sign up for the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System, where they drop another link to learn more.
The video below shows a terrifying tsunami that occurred on March 11 of 2001 in Japan, leaving more than 28,000 dead or missing.