Transforming Earthquake Detection?

Science  20 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6066, pp. 297-298
DOI: 10.1126/science.1214650

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Earthquakes are a collective experience. Citizens have long participated in earthquake science through the reporting, collection, and analysis of individual experiences. The value of citizen-generated status reports was clear after the 1995 Kobe, Japan, earthquake (1). Today's communications infrastructure has taken citizen engagement to a new level: Earthquake-related Twitter messages can outrun the shaking (2), Internet traffic detects earthquakes (37) and maps the distribution of shaking in minutes (810), and accelerometers in consumer electronic devices record seismic waveforms (1116). What are we learning from this flood of data, and what are the limitations? How do we harness these new capabilities for scientific discovery, and what is the role of education?