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: Streaming release of 'Interview' test for industry

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

Streaming release of 'Interview' test for industry

Dec 25, 2014

Sony's "The Interview" has been a hacking target, a punchline and a political lightning rod. Now, with its release online at the same time it debuts in theaters, it has a new role: a test for a new kind of ...

Web outage hardly stirs Internet-free N. Korea: experts

Dec 24, 2014

North Korea's Internet went down this week after an apparent attack but most of its citizens will not have noticed the difference in a country that does its level best to seal off foreign influence, experts say.

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.