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New app puts an earthquake detector in your pocket

Smartphone technology harnessed to track temblor vibrations

2:00pm, February 12, 2016

VIBRATE MODE  A new smartphone app called MyShake can detect nearby earthquakes and may one day provide early warnings of tremors, its creators say. Researchers tested the app using vibrating tables that mimic quakes (shown).

WASHINGTON — If you need to detect earthquakes, there’s an app for that. Seismologists have harnessed the motion-sensing accelerometers built into smartphones to detect tremors. The app, called MyShake, could eventually provide early warning of approaching quakes in regions lacking sophisticated seismometer networks, Richard Allen, a seismologist at the University of California, Berkeley, said February 11 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

MyShake monitors a smartphone’s movements. The software differentiates between everyday motion, such as a phone jostling in a pocket, and vibrations caused by an earthquake. The system monitors whether smartphones running the app in the same area report a quake (SN: 4/19/14, p. 16). One day, the system

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