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: Say Ello to the new privacy debate on social media

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

Say Ello to the new privacy debate on social media

23 hours ago

Ello is new social networking space on the web that is receiving a lot of attention of late – so much that it's caused a few problems with the website out of action from time to time. ...

Post-Snowden, iPhone 6 encryption fans safety debate

Sep 28, 2014

Encryption technology in the iPhone 6 has taken root in a scales-of-justice debate between privacy supporters and public safety officials. Apple is using a more advanced encryption technology.

'Anti-Facebook' social network gets viral surge

Sep 28, 2014

In a matter of days, the new social network Ello, described as the "anti-Facebook" for its stand on privacy and advertising, has become perhaps the hottest ticket on the Internet.

User comments : 0