Newly-launched 'MyShake' app alerts users to incoming earthquakes

A new iPhone app from the U.S. Geological Survey warns users when an earthquake is about to hit.

Originally a feature built-in to Android phones, the new MyShake App provides precious seconds, or sometimes minutes, of warning before an earthquake rumbles.

The app uses ground-motion sensors to detect earthquakes, and roughly measures their size, location and impact. Earthquakes that reach a certain magnitude trigger a ShakeAlert message with a warning tone, ensuring that users do not miss the alert.

The message reads "Earthquake. Drop, cover, hold on. Shaking expected."

Users can also set a ‘home base’ location, which allows them to get earthquake warnings even when location services are turned off. Otherwise, users are encouraged to keep location services on.

Alternatively, Android users do not require an app at all, as earthquake alerts are built into the phone’s software, which trigger at 4.5 magnitude and greater.

The MyShake App was developed by the UC Berkeley Seismology Lab and sponsored by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The app went live Wednesday morning.

Every county, except Adams County, also has regional opt-in emergency alerts for things like road closures, evacuations, wildfires and storms. You can find a full list on the Washington Military Department website.

You can download the app for Android (Google Play) or iPhone (App Store).

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