Story at a glance

  • The MyShake app was designed by scientists at UC Berkeley.
  • MyShake just sent off its first warning alarm when it detected a small quake in South Central California.
  • The app is part of a new market aiming at warning vulnerable people ahead of natural disasters.

An app that predicts, tracks and warns ahead of earthquakes in California issued its first warning yesterday. 

According to local sources, the MyShake app recorded and sent out an alert after sensing a 4.3 quake in the mountainous area between the Central Coast and the San Joaquin Valley. 

The relatively minor quake was centered in the Cholame Valley, a region in the South Central portion of the state, with no reports of damage, according to the Los Angeles Times

More than 40 people received the warning through MyShake. The app was created by the University of California, Berkeley’s Seismology Lab, and is described as “a citizen science project bringing users together to build a global earthquake early warning network.”

MyShake collects data “provided by citizen scientists” to help detect earthquakes across the globe and determine their magnitudes. The seismologists that work behind MyShake use this data to study earthquakes “without traditional networks.” 

The app is powered by the U.S. Geological Survey’s ShakeAlert database, which gathers earthquake data from a network of sensors distributed along the West Coast. 

Another earthquake-alerting app called ShakeAlertLA is used to detect the onset of earthquakes in Los Angeles and its greater regions. Both MyShake  and ShakeAlertLA are triggered by the seismic detection of an earthquake with a magnitude at or above 4.5, or at intensity level 3 on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale.

Published on Dec 19, 2019