Public Responds with Science as Earthquake Shakes Salt Lake City

An earthquake struck outside Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday. (Via Fox13Now and the Standard Examiner) The United States Geological Survey received over 3,100 reports to its Did You Feel It? crowdsourcing program

In the near term, the DYFI plays an important role in emergency response. Data from the USGS’ network of seismic sensors in the United States can take several minutes to arrive and get processed at the National Earthquake Information Center. Crowdsourced reports arrive within seconds and provide an early warning of the power and extent of the earthquake. As reports flood in, the USGS gets a much more detailed picture of the earthquake’s effects than its loosely-spaced sensor network produces. 

In the case of Thursday’s earthquake 80% of the reports reached the USGS within an hour, producing a detailed shake map of the magnitude 3.3 quake’s extent. 

Public reports show where people around Salt Lake City felt the magnitude 3.3 quake. Credit: USGS

Public reports show where people around Salt Lake City felt the magnitude 3.3 quake. Credit: USGS

Most reports to the Did You Feel It? website arrive within the first hour. Credit: USGS

Most reports to the Did You Feel It? website arrive within the first hour. Credit: USGS

The USGS tracks earthquakes around the world. Within the past 24 hours magnitude 5 quakes struck Honduras and Papua New Guinea while earthquakes in the magnitude 4 range struck in Chile, Fiji, and Vanuatu.