Google uses Android Phones to measure, follow Earthquakes

2020/08/17 16:30

Today's Vocabulary

1.detect (v)
discover or notice something

2. seismographic (adj) relating to equipment used to detect and measure earthquakes

3. tectonic plate  (n)
one of the parts of the earth’s surface that move in relation to each other

4. launched  (v)
to begin something such as a plan or introduce something new such as product

5. estimates (n)
a judgement or calculation of approximately how large or how great something is

Google uses Android Phones to measure, follow Earthquakes

Google has launched a communications system that uses the company’s Android phones to detect earthquakes. It aims to provide timely information about earthquakes to phones that run the mobile operating system.

To develop the system, the company worked with the U.S. Geological Survey – USGS – a federal agency that uses seismographic equipment to measure earthquake activity.

The USGS joined several university partners in developing the new warning system, called ShakeAlert.

The USGS says the purpose of ShakeAlert is to identify the first energy to be released in an earthquake. This first sign of a quake is known as primary wave energy.

When sensors identify this primary wave, Android phones immediately report the movement to a processing center, which then estimates the quake’s size and intensity. The center uses this data to create a message to warn people using the phones to take action, such as dropping to the ground or taking cover.

These messages could also be sent to businesses so their workers can close down gas lines, elevators or other equipment before the shaking begins.

No extra computer software is needed to run the system on Android devices. Alerts will be sent for earthquakes with a strength of 4.5 or greater. Users will receive a sound alert and warning on the screen telling them to immediately drop to the floor and seek cover.

Google says the data will also be used to provide fast and accurate information on earthquakes through its search engine. When a user searches “earthquake” or “earthquake near me” on Google, the latest information will be shown, along with “helpful resources” on what to do after an earthquake, the company said.

Google said it plans to add the service to Android users in other states and countries over the next year.


  1. What should you do, the moment an earthquake occurs?
  2. Do you think we can predict earthquakes?

“Once you have been in an earthquake you know, even if you survive without a scratch, that like a stroke in the heart, it remains in the earth's breast, horribly potential, always promising to return, to hit you again, with an even more devastating force. ”

Salman Rushdie