The earth’s surface is rattled by thousands of earthquakes each day. According to one conservative estimate about 1000 earthquakes occur every day, while another estimate puts the figure at around 3500, which amounts to more than 1.3 million jolts each year. Fortunately, a major percentage of these quakes are imperceptible to human beings and pose no threat to lives and property.
If you want to keep track of all major earthquakes around the earth that can be felt and has the potential for causing damage, the Internet offers you multitude of different options.
Website Based Updates
The USGS - U.S. Geological Survey – is a major organization that dedicates itself to the study of natural resources and natural hazards, including earthquakes. The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program monitors earthquake activity worldwide. It also maintains long-term archives of earthquake data for scientific and engineering research. So the best place to gather information and alert about earthquakes is to head to USGS Earthquake Hazards Program’s website.
The real-time earthquake reporting page displays all earthquakes with magnitude greater than 2.5 located by the USGS and contributing networks in the last week. Magnitudes 4.5 and above are in shown in bold font and those above magnitudes 6 are in highlighted in red.
Then checkout Earthquake Animations where you can see yellow and red dots popping all over the world map as a clock counter ticks above. The animations are not in real time though, and displays quakes recorded during the past 7 days.
Did You Feel It? is an interesting section that allows users to report quakes missed by the sensors (could happen, if the seismograph is located far away from the epicenter), and also report information about damages.
Edinburg Earth Observatory website is another good place to get updates on earthquakes. It offers dynamic maps of earthquakes across the world within the past 24 hours and also includes a database of past earthquakes, an animation of the past month's earthquakes, and statistical earthquake prediction.
Getting Automatic Updates
If you would rather have updates pushed your way, then again you have a variety of different options.
USGS provides several alternative ways to obtain real-time, worldwide earthquake lists. Earthquake information is extracted from a merged catalog of earthquakes located by the USGS and contributing networks, and updates are broadcast within a few minutes for California events, and within 30-minutes for world-wide events.
- RSS feeds (separate feeds for magnitude 2.5+ quakes during the last 24 hours and past 7 days, and magnitude 5+ quakes for past 7 days)
- Google Earth KML feeds to be opened in Google Earth. Earthquakes refresh every 5-minutes.
- Email notification when earthquakes happen around the world.
4INFO.com offers near real-time free SMS alerts about earthquakes around the world. Alerts are sent when the earthquakes happen, so you may get them at any time of the day or night, and if it's an active seismic season, you may receive quite a few alerts. This feed only reports on earthquakes of magnitude 5 and greater earthquakes worldwide. You can stop these alerts instantly at any time from your phone or the web.
You can also query the service at any time to get an earthquake report from your mobile phone. Send a text with the word EARTHQUAKES to 44636 and receive a text message back immediately with latest reported earthquake update.
A large number of automated Twitter bots also report earthquakes. @earthquakeBot, @earthquake, @EQTW, @quakemonitor, @EQWatch, and @QuakeTweets are a few to consider. If you're interested in earthquakes only in Los Angeles and San Francisco, there are @EarthquakesLA and @EarthquakesSF. If you're only interested in earthquakes greater than 3.5 on the Richter scale, there are @BigQuakesLA and @BigQuakesSF.
Desktop Software (Windows)
For getting alerts on the desktop, nothing beats Earth Alerts. It is a Windows-based application that allows you to monitor in near real-time not only earthquake but a variety of natural hazard events that are occurring anywhere around the world. These include tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanoes, flood and others. Alert notifications, reports, and imagery are provided to the user.
You can add your current location and get earthquake and other alerts in an around your region.
You can also setup Earth Alerts to push these reports via emails to your inbox and SMS to your mobile.
There are plenty of free earthquake alert software for Android phones and devices. Here are some worth checking out.
Earthquake Alert!: Shows you the latest Magnitude 1.0 and higher earthquakes from all over the World.
- Tab between map and list
- Latest quakes in the World.
- Filter what you see
- Click quake to view on map
- Map shows magnitudes
- View details on USGS site
Earthquake Alert!: Monitor earthquake activity around your neighborhood, or around the globe. Receive notifications, list recent, and map earthquakes that match your criteria.
Latest earthquakes: Get the latest earthquakes worldwide from the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.
Earthquake Quick Report: The application can show you the real-time, worldwide earthquake list for the past day. Its data source is from U.S. Geological Survey.
iPhone, iPod Software
Quake Warn allows you to follow earthquakes as they happen around the world. When an earthquake occurs you receive a push-notification even if the application is not running.
QuakeZones is another one worth mentioning.
- GPS Location Services provide your current location and display up to 1,000 QuakeZones.
- Historical worldwide earthquake data from multiple sources dating back to 1973.
- Manual Refresh enables you to pan, zoom, and refresh the map on demand.
- Search for other locations by Region or City name with automatic lookups.
- Display earthquake information for a city, state, country, or worldwide.
- Browse historical earthquake facts in “Did You Know?”
- Use Settings to create defaults for data presentation by year, magnitude, and number of earthquakes displayed.