Google’s Earthquake Alert System Warned Colombians Before the Tremor

Android platform users received a tremor alert. This functionality can identify seismic waves and recognize patterns that match the frequencies and vibrations generated by an earthquake.

Google’s Earthquake Alert System warned thousands of people that an earthquake was going to occur.

The 5.9-magnitude tremor that shook Colombia at dawn this Friday was notified seconds before to the phones of thousands of people by Google’s earthquake alert system and its Android platform, a technological advance that has caused a sensation in the country.

According to the Colombian Geological Service (SGC), the earthquake occurred at 4:18 local time (9:18 GMT) at a depth of 151 kilometers and had as its epicenter the Los Santos region, in the department of Santander (east), but seconds before After the earth shook, many users of the Android platform received a tremor alert.

” In order to put technology at the service of people, Google has developed and is still researching many tools and alternatives, such as the Android Earthquake Warning System, which many people in Colombia used and are still using today,” said Google’s communications manager in Colombia, Linda Patiño.

This mechanism, which is free and can be set in “Settings,” was reportedly enabled for Colombia at the end of last August and “operates as a complementary tool to the efforts carried out by the different players to save lives in these kinds of contexts,” according to the Internet search engine.

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Faster Than Seismic Waves

Google explains that “using the accelerometers found in Android smartphones, the feature can identify seismic waves and recognize patterns that match the frequencies and vibration generated in an earthquake, using the phones as a network of mini-seismometers.”.

This system issues two types of alerts, attention, and action:

The attention is a notification that is sent for tremors of magnitude 4.5 and greater and includes the magnitude and distance from the epicenter, using the volume and vibration of the phone as long as the user has activated that service.

The action alert is a full screen for larger earthquakes, “showing the user information to prepare for potential strong shaking, displaying instructions, and playing a loud sound.”

“Hundreds of millions of people live in regions that are prone to earthquakes and early warning can help save lives,” added Patiño.

Google’s Earthquake Alert System Warning, Not Prediction

In this regard, the technical director of Geothreats of the Colombian Geological Service, John Makario Londoño, explained that the Google system is “an early warning and not a prediction”, since tremors cannot be predicted.

“What the system does is send an alert that a seismic wave is coming that people will feel stronger because normally these waves travel slower and that is why the earthquake is felt after the alert arrives,” he said. Londono.

The expert added that for this reason, when an earthquake occurs “this Google alert system is activated”, whose technology is faster than seismic waves.

“While the waves travel from the origin of the earthquake to the place where the person with the cell phone is, a few seconds pass and after they feel”, but the Android system uses faster technologies that allow it to alert users that they are going to feel a tremor, he added.

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