Saving Lives with Smartphone Apps: Earthquakes in California and Mexico

Two powerful earthquakes struck Mexico earlier this month, ravaging the country and resulting in hundreds of casualties. Thankfully, fewer lives were lost compared to 1985’s earthquake that claimed thousands of lives and billions of dollars in damages. Smartphone apps may have been a contributing factor.

After 1985, the Mexican Seismic Alert System (Sasmex) was developed, an alert system detecting seismic tremors along the Western coast and sending at least a minute’s notice to residents of an impending quake via radio and television. Sasmex has since connected to smartphone apps like Sismos Mexico and Earthquake Alert, improving its speed and accessibility. The sooner the warning reaches residents, the faster they can safely take cover.

Meanwhile, California, which also is prone to earthquakes, does not have a system like Sasmex. ShakeAlert, the state’s warning system, is still in its introductory stages. Given California’s position on the San Andreas fault, seismologists predict a major earthquake will hit the state within a few decades.

There is still hope. Southern California Earthquake Centre director Thomas Jordan is working on an earthquake forecast app. While scientists cannot pinpoint the exact moment of an earthquake, Jordan hopes the smartphone app will give daily and weekly forecasts, similar to a traffic or weather report. For instance, detecting earthquake tremors in the north of the San Andreas fault could determine the likelihood of an earthquake in the south, such as in Monterey County. If coupled with an effective alert system like Sasmex, Jordan’s idea has the potential to save thousands of lives in California.

If you are engaging in R&D to develop better, life-saving methods of earthquake forecasting or warning alert systems, you may be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit. If you would like to find out how your company could benefit from R&D Tax Credits, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today.

Swanson Reed regularly hosts free webinars and provides free IRS CE credits as well as CPE credits for CPA’s.  For more information please visit us at or contact your usual Swanson Reed representative.

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