Shazam Music App Helps Seismologists Record Earthquakes

The algorithm of the popular music app Shazam, which helps determine which song is currently playing, has suddenly proved useful to seismologists in identifying minor seismic vibrations.

This is the conclusion made by researchers at Stanford University after they learned to identify earthquakes using patterns. The basis for this was a large database of seismic activity, which included, among other things, small earthquakes that are not recorded by conventional equipment. They are not dangerous, but they can help scientists predict powerful earthquakes that can cause significant destruction.

The idea to use the Shazam algorithm came from Stanford University geophysics professor Greg Beroz while visiting an electronics store. When he could not identify the song he heard, the aforementioned app came to the rescue. “I thought, ” Beroza recalls, “this is cool, and after a moment I came to the conclusion that I want to use this technology in relation to seismology.”

The team he assembled used an algorithm to analyze seismic activity in the Calaveras Fault in Northern California. The next step should be testing with several seismic stations over a longer period of time. As a result of such monitoring, researchers will be able to predict devastating earthquakes over time.