Monday, June 30, 2008

Web Site Hits Used to Pinpoint Earthquakes

New Scientist Tech reports that the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) has devised a way to use the positions of visitors to its earthquake information website to accurately locate an earthquake within minutes of the event. It turns out, the closer you are to the epicenter, the more likely you are to visit the website for information about the event.

This is a clever use of technology that already exists to provide more information faster. And I have to admit, after I experienced an earthquake recently, the first thing I did was head for the USGS' list of recent earthquakes in the U.S. for more information.

The software that EMSC used to perform the analysis also identified regions that had lost internet access due to the earthquake, by identifying regions within the area affected from which there were very few or no hits. This capability may be useful for assessing the severity of an earthquake and calculating early estimates of damage.

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