An earthquake early warning app is ready: Here’s why you can’t have it yet

There is an app that can give you a heads up before the shaking from an Earthquake starts, but there is one thing holding it back from public release - and it isn't funding.

Imagine if you got a notification to your phone about a minute before the next big earthquake hits. What would you do with that time? It sounds like a far-fetched scenario, but the technology is actually available right now.

"I think a lot of people assume they will never have advance warning to an earthquake," said Alissa Walker, a reporter at the city-centric website network Curbed. Walker is one of the few people across California who have the app installed and activated on her phone.

"At first, I was a little terrified to have it because it does actually ping you for every single earthquake that happens," explained Walker, who wrote about her experience with the app after a recent earthquake. She got an alert with a heads up a full 34 seconds before anyone else knew it was coming.

The app sends an alert with the location, magnitude and expected shaking intensity, up to 60 seconds before an earthquake hits. It relies on a network of complex sensors placed throughout California, Oregon and Washington State and literally counts down for the user the seconds before shaking is expected to begin.

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