Feeds

US Geological Survey detects earthquake on Twitter

The Earth moved for Filipino Tweeps before needles moved for boffins

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Twitter has beaten instruments to the punch at the US Geological Survey – but the geeks at the country’s lead earth-sciences agency are perfectly happy.

Launched last year to distribute earthquake information, the USGS has found its Tweet Earthquake Dispatch (TED) to be equally effective at receiving on-the-ground posts about quakes.

The agency has told Bloomberg that it began receiving Tweets from last Friday’s Philippines earthquake around one minute and seven seconds after the event – sooner than its instruments raised alerts, according to seismologist Paul Earle.

The quake resulted in a tsunami alert being issued. Happily that alert was cancelled as waves caused by the quake ended up being a mere 16 centimetres high. The 7.6 magnitude quake struck under the ocean 146 kilometres off Samar Island, resulting in one death and only minor damage.

TED monitors Twitter for “earthquake” posts in various languages, and in its own notices it provides a frequency counter of the number of Tweets originating from an earthquake region in "tweets per minute" – providing a hint at how widespread the effects of a quake may be felt.

The system can provide a “heads-up” that something’s happened before the wave is picked up by a seismograph (particularly if the quake happens somewhere remote from the USGS’s instruments), Earl told Bloomberg. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.