Predict the Possibility of Earthquakes Anywhere With OpenHazards

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 24, 2009

A new tool released by earth studies organization Open Hazards, Inc. aims to put the power of earthquake prediction in the hands of the public. Using data pulled from open sources like the U.S. Geological Survey global geoscience data catalog and assorted forecasting methods, OpenHazards estimates the probability of future earthquakes anywhere in the world from a week to five years away.

To use the tool, simply enter your location, choose a 25 - 100-mile radius, and how far out you'd like the results to forecast. Within seconds, you'll get results indicating the likelihood of a magnitude five or higher within that time frame. OpenHazards also provides information on how much shaking and damage might occur, along with the type of damage that might be done to different types of buildings.

Although predicting earthquakes is an inexact science, the development team claims OpenHazards accurately predicted an earthquake in Taiwan over the weekend. "A screen shot of the forecast shows the forecast details. The contour plot shows earthquake probability and the blue marker depicts the epicenter of the actual quake.  The forecast was posted to our website before the earthquake occurred.  An aftershock forecast will be available on our website after midnight California time when our site updates worldwide forecasting," writes one of the team members.

The OpenHazards Web site is filled with safety and preparation tips, as well as blog posts written by experts in earthquake hazard awareness and public education. While some of the content is geared toward geologists and geophysicists, much of it clearly written and non-technical. To learn more about ways open source software is being implemented the study of earthquakes, read about other of hazardous temblors.