Two months after going live, the MyShake mobile application sent its first notification to users this week.

The MyShake mobile application, which detects earthquakes in California, announced Tuesday that it sent its first-ever alert to users in the vicinity, informing them that an earthquake was coming very quickly. It finally took place near Cholame, a small Californian town known for its memorial dedicated to James Dean, who disappeared in a car accident here in 1955.

Nearly nine seconds to transmit alert

Dozens of residents from Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties in particular, located along the San Andreas Fault, were informed via a mobile phone alert of an upcoming earthquake. And indeed, an earthquake of magnitude 4.3 on the Mercali scale was recorded at 10:30 a.m. local time. The alert took 8.7 seconds to reach users.

Theoretically, the application only occurs for earthquakes with a magnitude greater than or equal to 4.5. If an alert was thus sent, it is because the initial estimate of the ShakeAlert indicator was measured around 4.8, before being corrected.

Such a participatory application

Available to the public since October, the application created by UC Berkeley, available on Android and iOS, was able to prove itself, despite the small amplitude of the earthquake, which fortunately did not cause any damage, in a state under constant surveillance.

The mobile application is the relay of the California earthquake early warning system. In addition to the transmission of alerts, maps and various safety tips, it enables mobiles to detect earthquakes, thanks to the accelerometer inserted in smartphones, which gives a participatory aspect to the application and extends its scope.

151 people testified about their “experience” on MyShake. Of these, only 15 reported feeling mild tremors.

For the time being, the tool can still be improved. The system usually only warns people very close to the epicentre, and may not have time to wait for the alert to be transmitted.

Source: LA Times