If games and puzzles aren't filling your spare time, why not spend your extra minutes contributing to science instead? Here's a quick way to send data to the US Geological Survey when an earthquake happens near your location. The USGS has a wonderful opportunity for you to contribute data quickly and efficiently if you ever find yourself in the midst of a seismic tremor.

Did You Feel It?

With Did You Feel It?, a site hosted by the USGS, you can anonymously contribute data about earthquakes you experienced. A list of earthquakes are given here, and once you enter your zip code, you are given the opportunity to answer several questions (were you inside or outside, if you were asleep, did any objects fall, the duration of the shaking) that help scientists at the USGS judge the intensity of the earthquake. This information is especially valuable when it comes from individuals far from the epicenter.

Help the USGS acquire Data Quickly

Several earthquakes happen each day, with most yielding little or no damage, especially to those in an area far from the epicenter, but were still able to feel the ground move around them. In the two hours after a 3.6 Magnitude earthquake in Central California on 9/13, over forty responses were cataloged over a 100 kilometer distance, allowing for quick data collection regarding smaller events as well.

Plots of submitted data are created in real-time, with the one for the 9/13 Central California tremor shown here.

Earthquakes in Unusual Places

The recent Virginia area earthquake was felt as far south as Georgia, giving a large number of people a new life experience. There are several dormant fault lines across the relatively earthquake free Eastern United States, including one that runs along 125th Street in Manhattan, the Ramapo Fault that stretches through New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and the New Madrid Fault, which runs from St. Louis to Memphis. With the number of faults on the East Coast and the recent Virginia quake activity, you might just have an opportunity to contribute important data in the near future.


Data images courtesy of the United States Geological Survey and header image of earthquake damage at the Washington National Cathedral courtesy of the AP.