USGS monitoring Twitter for earthquake details

Dec 15, 2009 By ALICIA CHANG , AP Science Writer

(AP) -- OMG! Earthquake!

The U.S. Geological Survey is scouring the popular microblogging site Twitter soon after a hits to pinpoint regions where shaking occurred.

"People like to tweet after earthquakes," USGS seismologist Paul Earle said Monday during an American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

There is usually a lag between when an strikes and when researchers can analyze the data that floods in from seismic stations. During that gap, scientists combing through hundreds of can get an initial picture of where the shaking was felt and areas of potential damage.

A prototype system aggregates tweets based on key words such as "earthquake" or the equivalent in different languages. It can then send an e-mail listing the cities where the tweets came from and what the tweets said.

"It would give you a little information about what potentially happened in that earthquake," Earle said.

There are still wrinkles to be worked out. Scientists are developing filters to distinguish tweets about a real temblor from say, an earthquake drill that can cause scores of people to pound out 140 characters.

On the Net: USGS Twitter Earthquake Detector: http://twitter.com/USGSted

Explore further: What safeguards are in Australia's data retention plans?

3 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ill. earthquake a wake-up call

Apr 20, 2008

A U.S. seismologist said the earthquake that jolted the Midwest Friday is a reminder of the risks seismic events pose outside familiar quake areas.

Twitter testing tool to organize tweets

Oct 01, 2009

Twitter on Thursday began letting a small number of users test a "Lists" feature for dividing maelstroms of tweets into manageable sub-categories.

Twitter partners with Indian firm for SMS tweets

Oct 14, 2009

Twitter announced a deal with India's top mobile company Bharti Airtel on Wednesday that will allow users of the hot micro-blogging service to send "tweets" at standard SMS message rates and receive them for ...

Witty tweets captured in 'Twitter Wit' book

Aug 26, 2009

A freshly released book "Twitter Wit" is a hit at the hip micro-blogging service, which so loved the compendium of clever tweets that it bought copies for everyone in its San Francisco headquarters.

Recommended for you

Facebook help a matter of timing

Mar 04, 2015

Getting a response to a request for assistance on social media may have more to do with your request's timing than how many followers you have, research suggests.

Supreme Court allows challenge to Colorado Internet tax law

Mar 03, 2015

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that federal courts can hear a dispute over Colorado's Internet tax law. One justice suggested it was time to reconsider the ban on state collection of sales taxes from companies outside ...

Clinton ran own computer system for her official emails

Mar 03, 2015

The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Rodham Clinton's emails—on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state—traced back to an Internet ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.