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MyShake earthquake warning app proves effective in San Jose quake

A high-tech tool now available through your smart phone can give provide you valuable seconds of warning.

SAN DIEGO — An earthquake that struck San Jose in the Bay Area on Tuesday was felt for hundreds of miles, from central California to north of Sacramento. 

While no damage or injuries were reported, this quake did serve as a reminder to all Californians to be prepared.

While it's not possible to predict a quake, technology exists to give you a heads-up that an active quake is heading your way, through California's MyShake app, which proved its effectiveness during this most recent earthquake.

This was the biggest earthquake to strike the Bay Area since a magnitude 6.0 quake, centered in Napa County struck in 2014.

While no injuries have been reported, residents definitely felt it.

"The building was swaying," said one resident. "You could feel it rocking back and forth, so it didn't take more than a second to know that it was an earthquake." 

For those who downloaded the MyShake app, depending on how far they lived from the quake's epicenter 12 miles east of San Jose in the Seven Trees neighborhood, they had more than a few seconds warning that the ground was about to shake.

"The Seven Trees earthquake was widely felt with over 18-thousand 'Did you feel it?' reports," said Annmarie Baltay, a seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey USGS.

She said the Shake Alert early warning system initially estimated a magnitude 4.8 quake.

"That alert was issued by the USGS five seconds after the earthquake was detected," she added, "and that estimate grew as shake alert earthquake alerts were delivered to residents, potentially proving seconds of warning depending on their distance from the epicenter."

Launched in 2019, the MyShake app taps into California's Shake Alert early warning system, providing a few precious seconds to drop, cover, and hold on.

Keep in mind, though, there is no way to actually predict an earthquake.

"What's going on miles below the ground, we do not have the ability to see that, nor any kind of instrumentation that sends off or records signals that we can take as a warning that one's coming," said geologist Pat Abbott. 

 "It's just a big blind spot, shall we say, in scientific understanding now," he he added. 

For more information on how best to prepare for an earthquake, click here

For more details on the MyShake app, click here

WATCH RELATED: Drop, Cover, and Hold On! The Great California ShakeOut (Oct. 2022).




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