Earthquakes can be devastating, and they don’t come with any prior warnings. So it is best to be prepared for them beforehand, especially if you live in an area that is a frequent target of earthquakes. We may not be able to detect earthquakes before they occur, but thanks to technology, our communication systems are faster than the speed of the earthquake waves (2-13km/sec).
Many agencies like USGS and EMSC are working to provide global earthquake warnings as soon as they occur. You can use a smartphone app to fetch this data and maybe even get ready for an earthquake before it hits your area. We are going to list four apps that will notify you about all the earthquakes as soon as they are recorded.
Points to Keep in Mind
Below are some points that you should keep in mind before using these apps:
- The time before you may be warned will be barely five seconds to a minute. It might not be much, but at least you can prepare your mind for it or maybe even get to a safe area.
- The apps are ad-supported, and some also come with Pro versions offering more features.
- All the apps come with “Filters,” so make sure you customize your app according to your needs before using. Otherwise, you will start receiving earthquake alerts that may not be important to you.
- All these apps track your location, so you must enable location tracking to use them.
- Depending on your location, you may receive alerts from the seismic network which can be slow (from five to fifteen minutes), so these apps may not be of much use to you (at least the warning part).
1. Earthquake Networks (Android)
This is by far the most comprehensive app for earthquake warnings. Earthquake Network uses both a community warning system and alerts from official seismic networks. It has a section where community members – including you – can send a warning to all Earthquake Network users if they feel an earthquake. It also takes advantage of your smartphone’s accelerometer to detect earthquakes and let you know, so you can at least warn other users.
Its filters are very good, and you can easily filter locations, magnitude and time. There are also chatrooms where you can chat with other Earthquake Network users. I did saw some alerts duplicating from different seismic networks, so try not to get confused.
2. Earthquakes (Android)
A very simple and light app, and my personal favorite, Earthquakes is perfect for novice users. The app only focus on what is important and leaves all the bells and whistles to the others. The app uses data from seven teen different seismic networks to notify you and never duplicates warnings.
It has three filters – Magnitude, Region, and Earthquake depth. Region lets you select a continent or the whole world. The earthquake can also be seen on Google Maps with more details.
3. QuakeFeed Earthquake Map, Alerts and News (iOS)
QuakeFeed is an iOS earthquake warning app with tons of features and an intuitive interface. The app only offers notifications for magnitude 6.0+ for free, but you can spend $1.99 to gain full control over notifications and filters. It offers earthquake news right inside its interface, and you can see earthquake details on eight different types of maps.
It also comes with a social media sharing feature to share earthquake alerts and news with your friends.
4. Earthquake Alert! (Android)
Earthquake Alert! is another Android app that uses USGS data to provide alerts. Its interface is very intuitive and offers information in a clean manner. You can see earthquakes on a map and also see news about earthquakes. Furthermore, it also has a stats section that offers all the related information in one place, including total earthquakes in a specific time, earthquakes near you, strongest earthquakes, etc.
To manage and enable notifications, you will have to download a companion Earthquake Alerter app. Once downloaded, you can add filters and manage notifications right inside the Earthquake Alert! app.
Above are some of the best apps to keep a tab on earthquakes on your smartphone. It is recommended that you should always be prepared for earthquakes and that you don’t depend too much on these apps. The warning period is quite short, and sometimes you won’t even be warned in time. If you know any other good apps for earthquake warnings, let us know in the comments.