• Seismic early warningUSGS awards $3.7 million to advance ShakeAlert early warning system

    The U.S. Geological Survey awarded approximately $3.7 million to six universities to support transitioning the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system into a production system. Additionally, the USGS has purchased about $1.5 million in new sensor equipment to expand and improve the ShakeAlert system and awarded about $0.25 million in supplements to earlier agreements to three universities. These efforts, as well as internal work that the USGS is conducting, are possible because of $8.2 million in funding to the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program for ShakeAlert approved by Congress earlier this year.

  • Emergency alertsConnecticut launches emergency alert mobile app for state residents

    Connecticut governor Dannel P. Malloy last week announced the launch of a new emergency preparedness mobile application for Connecticut residents. The app provides information and alerts in emergency situation, and also helps residents prepare in advance of an emergency. The CT Prepares app, which can be downloaded to most smartphones, incorporates and integrates text messaging, e-mail, and social networking, allowing residents to communicate with family members during an emergency.

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  • Security appsSayVU security app – developed by a BGU graduate student -- deployed at Rio Olympics

    A new app, SayVU, conceived as a graduate student project at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, is being deployed at the 2016 Rio Olympics. International Security & Defense Systems (ISDS), the security integrator for the Olympics, selected SayVU as one of the Israeli technologies being used to protect attendees. SayVU enables a user to send a distress signal to an emergency hotline even if a phone is locked and without having to access the application. The message can be sent in a number of ways; shaking the device, tapping the camera button, or simply speaking into the phone.

  • EarthquakeFalse earthquake smartphone alert sends Japanese into panic

    Thousands of Tokyo residents were sent into panic by an erroneous alert that a massive earthquake had hit the Japanese capital. The alert also disrupted some train services. The Japanese Meteorological Agency issued, and then sent, the alert just after 5 p.m., saying a magnitude-9.1 quake had struck the city. The agency cancelled the alert a few seconds later, but tens of thousands of smartphone owners who subscribe to the popular Yurekuru disaster warning app had already received the alert.

  • Tsunami early warningElectromagnetic fields could be used in tsunami early warning

    Could electromagnetic (EM) fields be used in tsunami early warning? New research shows that important focal parameters of tsunamigenic earthquakes — particularly fault dip direction — can be extracted from tsunami-borne EM fields.

  • Earthquake early warningState budgets $10 million for earthquake early warning

    Governor Jerry Brown has signed a 2016-17 state budget that provides $10 million to help launch a statewide earthquake early-warning system. Although California passed a mandate in 2013 to create a statewide earthquake warning system, this is the first money appropriated by the state to make it a reality. The federal government has already provided $13.2 million to improve and test a prototype West Coast early-warning system, but this is much less than the $38 million in buildout costs and $16 million per year in operating costs needed to establish a fully functioning system serving California, Oregon, and Washington.

  • Terrorism appFrance unveils app to alert people to terror attacks

    Euro 2016 soccer tournament begins on Friday, and as part of the massive security operation undertaken to secure the ten millions spectators who will be watching the games from 10 June to 10 July, the French government has created a smartphone app designed to send warnings directly to people’s phones in the event of a bombing, shooting, or other disaster.

  • HurricanesImproving hurricane intensity predictions through early use of “hurricane hunter” data

    Data collected via airplane when a hurricane is developing can improve hurricane intensity predictions by up to 15 percent, according to researchers who have been working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Hurricane Center to put the new technique into practice.

  • TsunamisA warning system for tsunamis

    Right now, tsunami warning systems rely on region-specific scenarios based on previous patterns in that area. This is because scientists use sensors in the ocean, which can detect abnormal movements but cannot make accurate projections of how much water will hit a coast and how hard. But “most likely” is not a sure thing. Seismologists have created a new algorithm that could one day help give coastal cities early warning of incoming tsunamis.

  • Seismic early-warningJapanese-language MyShake app crowdsources earthquake-shaking information

    UC Berkeley scientists have released a Japanese version of an Android app that crowdsources ground-shaking information from smartphones to detect quakes and eventually warn users of impending jolts from nearby quakes. The app, called MyShake, became publicly available on Sunday. Since it was first released in English on 12 February 2016, more than 170,000 people have downloaded the app from around the world, and on any given day 11,000 phones provide data to the system.

  • FirefightingSeismic networks can serve as the backbone for 21st century firefighting

    The same twenty-first century communications network used for real-time seismic monitoring in Nevada and parts of California can provide high-quality images to help first responders catch fires before they grow costly and dangerous. Experts say that seismic networks in place to provide earthquake early warning, if designed to sustain multi-hazard monitoring, can provide a robust data backbone for fire cameras that pan, tilt and zoom as they monitor wildfires and other extreme weather events like remote floods.

  • Earthquake early warningJapan’s successful earthquake early warning system offers lessons to U.S. high-speed rail

    As California and other states move forward with high-speed rail plans, some have questioned the system’s ability to withstand earthquakes. This is especially critical in California, an active quake zone. A recent research report says that valuable lessons are easily adapted from Japan’s successes with its early earthquake warning (EEW) systems. This was most recently demonstrated during the series of violent quakes that shook Japan in mid-April, 2016.

  • EarthquakesWorries in southern California: San Andreas fault “locked, loaded, and ready to roll”

    Top seismologists have warned residents of southern California that the region is overdue for a major earthquake. The San Andreas fault is “locked, loaded and ready to go,” said Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center. Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest, Mount St Helens is waking up, with  as many as 130 small earthquakes detected beneath the mountain in recent weeks.

  • EarthquakesCitizen seismologists enhance the impacts of earthquake studies

    From matchbook-sized sensors plugged into a desktop computer to location-tagged tweets, the earthquake data provided by “citizen seismologists” have grown in size and quality since 2000, according to the field’s researchers.

  • Tsunami early warningAll of Indonesia’s Tsunami early warning buoys were inoperable before 7.8 magnitude tremor

    At the time of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake which struck off the Indonesian coast on Wednesday night, all of Indonesia’s tsunami early warning buoys were inoperable. The shallow tremor 600 km off Sumatra island did not generate a tsunami, but the incident has raised questions about the effectiveness of the early warning system, which was deployed in the wake of the devastating 2004 tsunami.