Social Media, Citizen Seismology and Reducing Earthquake Risk

Social Media, Citizen Seismology and Reducing Earthquake Risk

The project is led by EMSC (European Mediterranean Seismological Centre), a non-profit organization constituting one of the world’s main centers of seismological information. The project builds on an existing working prototype developed by scientists, which has evolved over the past 15 years into one of the top two global prototypes in this field. 

Duration of the project: 2020-2023 (currently underway)


EMSC provides earthquake risk awareness-raising and warning services (via its website, mobile application, Twitter alerts, etc.). These services, which have been available for several years in 33 languages, are at risk of becoming obsolete, particularly due to the higher volume of so-called “citizen” seismological data available, but also because a growing number of users would like to see more features providing greater interactivity with the services on offer. 

The project aims to modernize and enhance the robustness of these services, and is split into three stages:  

  • First, a technical audit will review the structure of the existing services with a view to streamlining them; 
  • Next, the existing services will be upgraded to adapt to the changes mentioned above; 
  • Finally, new features will be developed, concentrating in particular on more efficient interaction with users in order to provide (among other things) closer monitoring in post-tremor awareness-raising campaigns.  

The project is primarily concerned with society and people. By raising public awareness of the best practices to adopt with regard to (and above all following) earthquakes, it aims to limit human casualties and injuries as much as possible, which is a noble objective. 

While the benefits in terms of pricing are limited, the project will enable insurers to better estimate reserves. The images provided by the users themselves will lead to improved assessment of the severity of losses on the ground. 

In addition, the improved quality of the services provided by EMSC should lead to more people using the facility, which should in turn lead a certain form of exhaustiveness in the demarcation of areas affected by natural catastrophes. Assessing the true severity of an event could lead to better anticipation, and more efficient management, of its after-effects.  

By providing a wealth of data, a moderate earthquake that occurred near Athens, Greece on July 19, 2019, illustrates how crowdsourced data from EMSC can complement data from seismological networks to better characterize and map earthquake effects.

The original research article “Evaluation of macroseismic intensity, strong ground motion pattern and fault model of the 19 July 2019 Mw5.1” presents a joint analysis of the instrumental and macroseismic data collected for this earthquake. 

Presentation - "Citizen Seismology and its Contribution to Seismic Risk Reduction"


About LastQuake

Click here to learn more about LastQuake, the leading earthquake app created by EMSC, which collects crucial, real-time data from eyewitnesses as earthquakes happen.

LastQuake - Rémy Bossu - Secretary General of the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre

The SCOR Corporate Foundation for Science invests in innovative risk management research and development. This includes a system known
as LastQuake that helps to assess the impact of an earthquake much sooner than


In the following presentation, Rémy Bossu (EMSC) presents the progresses realized in the first 2 years of the project “Citizen seismology and its contribution to seismic risk reduction” supported by the SCOR Foundation for Science. The presentation is divided in 3 parts. It first presents the main ideas behind the concept of citizen seismology and how it can contribute to risk reduction through improved rapid impact assessment to public awareness and preparedness. Then follows the progresses realized over the last 2 years before going in more details about the technical work carried out and the plan for the last year of the project.



2nd Activity Report of the EMSC, April 2022

Social media is leveraged in research conducted by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre’s Dr. Rémy Bossu, in Bruyères le Châtel, France

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Utilization of Crowdsourced Felt Reports to Distinguish High-Impact from Low-Impact Earthquakes Globally within Minutes of an Event

This article provides a detailed description and discussion of the project's innovative philosophy as well as its implementation. The article explores how we might make use of crowdsourced “felt reports” to distinguish high-impact from low-impact earthquakes within minutes of an event that occurs anywhere in the world. This could  allow for innovation and optimisation of  crisis management, which is key to limiting and controlling the extent of disasters’ claims.

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How was the LastQuake rapid earthquake information and crowdsourcing system used in the immediate aftermath of the 6 February 2023 M7.8 earthquake in Turkey?

When the M7.8 earthquake struck Turkey on February 6, people who felt the tremor immediately turned to the LastQuake websites (website visits) and the application (app launches) to get preliminary information and share their experiences (felt reports). LastQuake automatically detected this influx of activity within 70 seconds of the earthquake, even before seismic data was available (crowdsourced detection, green hexagon). After less than 5 minutes, a notification was sent to all LastQuake app users which generated a new influx of visits to the LastQuake system.

The response was particularly large and fast from countries where LastQuake was already popular at the time of the quake (e.g. Cyprus). Within 30 minutes of the earthquake, more than 5,000 felt reports describing the level of shaking and damage were collected, providing a first indication of the impact of the earthquake.