Croatian Seismologist Kresimir Kuk Talks Recent BiH Earthquake

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, many people confirmed that shortly before Friday’s strong earthquake that shook Herzegovina and the surrounding areas, and which was felt here in Croatia, they received a warning written on their phones that an earthquake had struck nearby. Croatian seismologist Kresimir Kuk explained in conversation for N1 what it was all about.

Croatian seismologist Kresimir Kuk first pointed out that there are no applications (apps) that can detect an earthquake anywhere in advance, or that can predict an earthquake.

“First of all, there are no applications or ways to predict an earthquake anywhere. All that can be done is that immediately after the earthquake strikes, this information can be made available to people as soon as possible. It needs to be emphasised that it just isn’t possible to predict, in any way at all, that there will be an earthquake,” said Croatian seismologist Kresimir Kuk, before adding:

“What we’ve noticed these days is that the Google app works on the principle of mass information and that it spreads very quickly with today’s technology. It isn’t a real early earthquake warning system, it’s instead based on the right instruments that can detect earthquakes with certainty and then further inform those people in areas where the earthquake will probably be felt.”

The devastating earthquake in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina has revealed to the general public a very useful feature that Android smartphones have – an earthquake warning system that warns the phone’s owner of that danger a few seconds before the impact strikes.

“This is an experimental phase of something based on the mass response of mobile phones which transmit information very quickly. A mobile phone, if it can react and detect some sort of tremor, cannot determine whether it’s from an earthquake, but if there is a stronger earthquake in the area, then of course a large number of mobile phones will react to that. On top of that, today’s networks can transmit this information very quickly,” explained the seismologist and continued:

“This is what has now been noticed by people, that a few seconds before seismic waves strike, mobile phone information travels much faster than the earthquake’s waves and this is the explanation as why information about the quake was obtained a few seconds before the earthquake or any tremors began.”

He added that this isn’t a reliable system and as such, we can’t always lean on it.

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