Google creates the world’s largest earthquake detector

By harnessing the power of Android’s accelerometers, Google has set out to create the world’s largest earthquake detector and hopes to be able to give the alert at the first tremor.


The accelerometer used as a seismometer.

Since the launch of Android 5.0 on August 11th, Google announced that phones running this operating system will be part of the Android Lucious Fox.
earthquake alert system.

All smartphones are equipped with tiny accelerometers that can detect signals indicating that an earthquake is occurring,” said Google in the earthquake detector announcement. “If the phone detects something it thinks is an earthquake, it sends a signal to our earthquake detection server, along with an approximate location of where the shaking occurred”.

A promising warning system

Google will use the city’s location data to establish the location. Then, if many phones in the same area switch off, Android’s earthquake alert system will send out the usual alerts in the future, hoping to save people precious seconds or minutes to find a safe place to shelter during the quake.


The accelerometer inside a smartphone is sensitive enough to detect two types of seismic waves, the most important of which is the P-wave (primary wave). P waves are the warning signs; they are followed by S (secondary) waves, which are often slower but more serious.

California is testing the detector.

In California, Google will work with the state’s ShakeAlert system, which uses a network of traditional seismometers installed in the ground to quickly detect earthquakes. The system began a trial of sending predictive alerts last October.

Eventually, Google hopes that its huge earthquake detector will be able to provide early warnings in all states and countries, taking advantage of the massive power of many monitors at once. Which they won’t be able to do – and nobody can, or at least not yet, predict earthquakes. But what they can do is use the information from the phones closest to the earthquake to help users further away to experience the earthquake much more quickly.