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: Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

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

Net neutrality balancing act

1 hour ago

Researchers in Italy, writing in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor pr ...

Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

23 hours ago

Social networking company Twitter on Wednesday rejected demands from the Turkish government to open an office there, following accusations of tax evasion and a two-week ban on the service.

How does false information spread online?

Apr 16, 2014

Last summer the World Economic Forum (WEF) invited its 1,500 council members to identify top trends facing the world, including what should be done about them. The WEF consists of 80 councils covering a wide range of issues including social media. Members come ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Net neutrality balancing act

Researchers in Italy, writing in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor pr ...

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Bionic ankle 'emulates nature'

These days, Hugh Herr, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, gets about 100 emails daily from people across the world interested in his bionic limbs.