About earthquakes
About LastQuake
Data & Confidentiality
How does EMSC detect earthquakes?
EMSC can detect seismic events using ​crowdsourced systems* ​ with earthquake witnesses becoming real-time seismic sensors. The EMSC information system is composed of:
- a desktop ​website
- a ​website ​for ​mobile devices
- a ​mobile application​, called LastQuake
- a ​Twitter quakebot
When people experience a sudden tremor, they immediately consult the internet (social networks, blogs, news, etc) and search for information about the shaking they just felt. This rapid convergence of people looking for information produces:
- a massive ​increase of traffic​ to the EMSC website;
- concomitant​ ​launches​ of LastQuake mobile app;
- a ​surge in the number of tweets​ containing the keyword “earthquake” in various languages.

These three methods are complementary and allow the EMSC to detect an earthquake within 15–120 s from the earthquake’s onset without analyzing seismic signals. Want to know more about the EMSC earthquake detection system? Check out this video.

To locate the earthquake without running any analysis on seismic data, the EMSC needs:
- the IP address of the website visitors
- the mobile phone location of the mobile website visitors
- the location of LastQuake app users
- a descriptive location in the user's twitter profile

The users location is ​anonymously ​used by the EMSC​.

* crowdsourced system​: participative activity where the public voluntarily share their experience, knowledge, information, and data to collaborate with an organization and achieve mutual aid and common goals.

What is citizen science and how can I get involved?

Citizen science is a novel, inclusive way of doing science, where the public collect, share, use, and exchange data to advance research and increase scientific knowledge through a collaborative approach..

LastQuake is an example of a Citizen Seismology project, where users are the primary source of information about earthquake felt shaking and damages.

You can contribute to LastQuake in many many ways!

You live in an earthquake-prone region:

Download LastQuake! In case of an earthquake, you will get alerted and receive information about the event. If you feel an earthquake, you can share your testimony and help us improve our understanding of the felt shaking and the possible damages.

You do not live in an earthquake-prone region:

Download LastQuake to receive information about the earthquakes around the globe. Support our cause and:

- donate to the EMSC to help us improve our free and ad-free services;

- join the LastQuakers community and learn more about earthquake preparedness and response.

Where does data come from?

EMSC exploits two types of data: ​testimonies​ from earthquake witnesses and ​seismic data​ from official institutes.

Felt reports, comments, pictures, and videos are the ​testimonies citizens share with the EMSC via:
- the desktop and mobile ​websites
- LastQuake​ mobile app
- Twitter

Earthquake location, origin time, P- and S-wave arrival times, and magnitude are the ​seismic data ​contributed by more than 150 seismic networks​​ around the world.

LastQuake is a Citizen Science project. Our earthquake witnesses collect and provide us with unique data that is essential to scientific research and public knowledge.

We rely on and trust earthquake witnesses because they voluntarily collaborate to advance earthquake information technology.

What is a seismologist?

Seismologists study the genesis and the propagation of seismic waves in the Earth, from its surface to its core.

Seismic waves can be generated by several, different sources. However, two main sources of seismic waves can be distinguished:
- natural, like earthquakes
- artificial, like underground nuclear tests

In case of an earthquake, seismologists have the task to locate the source, estimate the nature, and evaluate the size (magnitude).

What is a sociologist and why does a seismological centre need one?

Sociologists study human behavior. They observe and analyze how social, religious, political,cultural and economic aspects influence the behavior of groups of people and/or individuals.

Earthquakes are one of the world’s greatest disasters. During an earthquake, emotions such as fear, anxiety, panic, and confusion are quite prevalent among the population. These emotions can lead to a variety of reactions of individuals in response to an emergency situation.

The role of a sociologist within a seismological institution is:
- to study individuals’ perception about the earthquake risk;
- to interpret people’s feelings and behaviors, before, during, and after the earthquake;
- to evaluate people’s interest and commitment in being prepared, in getting information and providing some, in properly responding in case of an emergency.