Being warned of an earthquake just before it starts is possible!

seismograph earthquake tremor earthquake
The technology developed by Google and researchers can detect earthquakes earlier than people present.

Preventing a disaster using technology is now done! A system developed by the giant Google and researchers from the American University of Berkeley allows to’warn android phone users of impending earthquakeby sending an alert.

A detection program earthquake that could save lives in seconds, even before the future victims can feel the first tremors. How is it possible ?

A network of 1300 sensors

On Tuesday, October 25, 2.2 million Californians received an alert on their Android phone telling them that an earthquake of magnitude 4.8 would strike the region of san francisco (the shaking was later upgraded to 5.1). Possible detection thanks to a network of 1300 sensors : when 4 sensors feel a tremor, they send it to a processing center which determines its magnitude.

The alert is then sent to users either directly through Google with a notification, or through apps or text messages from the government, or through the MyShake app. The idea is as follows: the speed of dissemination of alerts to areas far from the epicenter is faster than the speed of propagation of the tremorthen several hundreds of thousands of people can protect yourself before feeling it.

In addition, every Android phone has been equipped by Google withan accelerometer capable of picking up signals from a earthquake : so, each owner of such a smartphone has a kind of miniature seismic sensor that can send geolocated data to the processing center previously mentioned.

A very promising artificial intelligence

Of course, this system is in no way a prediction of earthquakesbut indeed a detection tool. How does Google access this data to issue an alert? Merely by retrieving data from ShakeAlertthe sensor system set up by the Institute of Geological Studies of UNITED STATES.

This form of artificial intelligence senses seismic waves through the ground and automatically determines according to predefined criteria whether these will cause damage. A model that already exists in China since 2020, which moreover has since made it possible to detect faster than humans a total of 446 earthquakes.

This system remains far less expensive than installing thousands of seismographs all over the planet, and could therefore generalize as a prevention tool. In France, the FR-Alert alert system works on all smartphones (Android and iOS), for natural, terrorist or chemical risks, from prefectural notifications issued via relay antennas. It is however little used for the moment…



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Being warned of an earthquake just before it starts is possible!


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