Google launched a new Android feature today that is a new worldwide earthquake detection system with earthquake alerting feature that is launching for California. This means an Android phone is being turned into a seismometer to create “the world’s largest earthquake detection network.”
Smartphone accelerometers measure the P-waves that are the first waves to arrive after an earthquake.
“While the San Andreas GPS data has been publicly available for more than a decade, the vertical component of the measurements had largely been ignored in tectonic investigations because of difficulties in interpreting the noisy data. Using this technique, we were able to break down the noisy signals to isolate a simple vertical motion pattern that curiously straddled the San Andreas fault,” said Howell.
“We were surprised and thrilled when this statistical method produced a coherent velocity field similar to the one predicted by our physical earthquake cycle models,” said Smith-Konter. “The powerful combination of a priori model predictions and a unique analysis of vertical GPS data led us to confirm that the buildup of century-long earthquake cycle forces within the crust are a dominant source of the observed vertical motion signal.”
The new findings are published in Nature Geoscience. The study was supported by the National Science Foundation.
–Adapted from information in the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa news release and related news: https://www.wired.com/story/google-is-launching-a-global-earthquake-detection-network/, https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/new-analysis-reveals-large-scale-motion-around-san-andreas-fault-system, https://techcrunch.com/2020/08/11/google-is-turning-android-phones-into-seismometers/