Advanced IOT based Real-Time Earthquake Detector & early warning system

(Last Updated On: February 12, 2020)

Earthquake Detector

Earthquake Detector & early warning system Introduction:

Real-Time Earthquake Detector Sensor Network is an advanced level research project which basically aims to develop a WIFI based Real-time Earthquake Detector Sensor Network which can be used at the Province level, Country-level or even at the Global level. With the help of this project, the earthquake detection system can be installed in every city which will make a complete network, and every earthquake detector monitoring device can be monitored in real-time using the IoT platform.

Due to the real-time monitoring, we can easily predict in which direction the earthquake waves are traveling, this way the people can be informed in time before the earthquake hits that area. Each earthquake sensor data will have the date and time information as well. The uniqueness of my research project is that it can be practically adopted. So that’s why I also made a Prototype model so that I can clearly explain my whole research work. During the practical installation, I will only consider two locations, Peshawar and Nowshera; later you can increase the number of locations to be monitored. I have also designed some high-quality PCBs for this which can be used to power up the Nodemcu ESP8266 wifi Modules and the Vibration sensors.

About the Earthquake:

Earthquake “is also known as tremor, temblor or quake“ is actually the shaking of the earth’s surface, which results due to the sudden release of the energy in the Earth’ lithosphere which creates seismic waves. In very simple words, the word earthquake can be described as the seismic event – whether natural or caused by the humans that generate seismic waves. As the seismic waves or the vibration waves can also be generated by the humans, so the false readings can be generated by the monitoring sensors. To overcome this problem every city can have 2 or 3 more sensors to further ensure the earthquake.

Pakistan suffered a particularly devastating earthquake in October 2005, which killed more than 80,000 people. We need a real-time earthquake sensor network that can basically predict the direction of the earthquake so that the local authorities can be informed in time before it hits the people of that area.

For each area, that is to be monitored a device will be designed which will consist of the vibration sensor, Nodemcu Module, and a power supply, which is really cheap and economical. The software’s which will be used in this project are

  1. CadeSoft Eagle “Schematic and PCB designing” Software.
  2. C programming in Arduino IDE.
  3. Ubidots IOT platform for real-time Monitoring along with date and time through a chart.


Objectives:

The main objective of my research project is to work on the real-time earthquake detector sensor network, and design such a low-cost real-time earthquake detector monitoring system that can be easily used throughout the country or world. Still, we are relying on the technology of other countries due to which we spent a lot of money. So that’s why I decided to work on this project and make our own monitoring system for the earthquake based on the wifi module, vibration sensor, and IoT platform.

Problem Statement:

In Pakistan, there is no such real-time Earthquake Detector sensor network that can predict the direction of the earthquake. If you visit the Pakistan Meteorological Department you will find no real-time monitoring system. To protect lives we have to go for an advanced Real-time earthquake Sensor Network. My proposed system is not at 100% perfect level but it can be used for the prediction and detecting vibrations. My Proposed research project will, of course, need more research. At this stage, my aim is to open a way for other researchers to take this to a more advanced level. My project can have false readings but in the future, this can be improved through programming. Another main Hurdle is the Budget problem which I will discuss in the Literature Review.

Earthquake Detector Monitoring System Block Diagram:

Earthquake Detector

Each Green dot represents an earthquake detector device. The real-time data will be sent to the monitoring station after every 1 second. This way if an earthquake is detected at any location the monitoring station will be informed. This way we can monitor the whole country. For best performance, the number of earthquake monitoring devices can be increased which entirely depends on the budget. In my point of view even if we install around 1000 devices still it’s going to work, as we know something is better than nothing. As I did the cost analysis 1000 earthquake devices will not cost so much that a country can’t afford it. My proposed system is going to be the cheapest earthquake detection system.


Earthquake Literature Review:

Since the advancement in science and technology, thousands of researchers throughout the world are working hard to devise an efficient real-time earthquake monitoring system.

Earthquake Early Warning systems around the World

Earthquake Early Warning systems are operational in several countries around the world, including Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Romania, China, Italy, and Taiwan. All of these systems rapidly detect earthquakes and track their evolution to provide warnings of pending ground shaking. Systems can vary depending on the local faults and the specific ground motion data available.

Examples of Early earthquake Warning Systems

  • Mexico City has an EEW system that warns of strong shaking from large earthquakes that occur off of the country’s coast. The system consists of a series of sensors located along the coast that detect shaking from a large earthquake and rapidly determine the location and magnitude. Since Mexico City is located several hundred miles from the main plate boundary they can receive up to a minute or more of warning of the impending shaking for subduction zone earthquakes, but warning times are shorter for earthquakes that occur closer to the city. This system has been in operation since 1991.
  • Japan currently has the most sophisticated early warning systems in the world. The warnings were initially developed for use in slowing and stopping high-speed trains prior to strong shaking. The success of that program in addition to the devastating effects of the 1995 Kobe earthquake paved the way for building a nationwide early warning system. Japan has built a dense network of seismic instruments to rapidly detect earthquakes. They have been issuing public warnings since 2007.


Time to Detect an Event

An earthquake early warning system on the west coast of the United States could provide up to tens of seconds of warning prior to shaking arriving. The time required to detect and issue a warning for an earthquake is dependent on several factors:

  1. Distance between the earthquake source and the closest seismic network seismometer (station).

It takes a finite amount of time (3–4 miles per second) for the first seismic waves to travel from the source (e.g. the point on a fault that is breaking) to the seismic station. Therefore, the closer a station is to where an earthquake begins, the more rapidly the earthquake can be detected. Accurate detections often depend on multiple ground motion measurements from more than one station; so, increasing the density of stations near the fault can improve detection times.

  1. Transfer of information to the regional networks. Data from multiple stations are collected and analyzed by the regional seismic networks, so ground motion information must be transferred from the station to the processing center. Existing networks use a variety of methods to send data back to the server to improve robustness, including radio links, phone lines, public/private internet, and satellite links. In addition, delays from packaging and sending the data from the station must be minimized to provide useful warning times.
  2. Detection and characterization of an earthquake. Ground motion records received from the stations in real-time are used to detect an earthquake and rapidly determine an initial location and magnitude of the event. We are developing multiple algorithms to estimate the earthquake information as rapidly as possible. Earthquakes can continue to grow in size over many seconds (the larger the earthquake generally the longer it takes to get to the final size), so magnitude estimates can also change through time as the evolving earthquake is tracked.
  3. Shaking intensity threshold used to issue an alert.Alerts are issued for a region when the expected ground shaking intensity is above a minimum threshold. Alerts can be provided more quickly for low thresholds of ground shaking because the system doesn’t need to wait as long for the earthquake magnitude to grow (larger earthquakes produce high ground shaking intensities).

ShakeAlert:

ShakeAlert is an experimental earthquake early warning system (EEW) for the west coast of the United States and the Pacific Northwest sponsored by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). [1] [2]

The system will issue automated alerts to give people time to take protective actions like “drop, cover and hold on” in the event of a quake, preventing injuries caused by falling debris, automatically stopping public transport systems, preventing cars from entering bridges or tunnels, automatically shutting down industrial systems and gas lines, and triggering specific protocols in hospitals and other sensitive work environments. Initially, the system will cover the west coast of in North America which is exposed to significant seismic risk along the San Andreas fault zone or the Cascadia subduction zone.

Performance

The ShakeAlert system issued alerts for several significant southern California earthquakes in 2014 including a M4.4 event in Encino, a M4.2 event in Westwood, and a M5.1 event in La Habra.[6]

ShakeAlert issued a warning 5.4 seconds after the beginning of the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that hit the Napa region on August 24, 2014.[7] Although it was initially reported that the system provided 10 seconds of warning before the S-wave arrived in Berkeley,[8][9] subsequent information showed that this was in error and the warning arrived only 5 seconds before the S-wave in Berkeley.[7] This means the S-waves had already arrived in Napa and Vallejo when the warning was issued. San Francisco received 8 seconds warning.[6]


Participants, funding, and technology

The project is being developed by a consortium of institutions including the United States Geological Survey, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), the California Geological SurveyCalifornia Institute of Technology, the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory at University of California BerkeleyUniversity of WashingtonUniversity of Oregon, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ). The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has invested more than $6 million in developing the system.[10]

USGS estimates the west coast system will cost $38 million to complete and $16 million per year to operate over and above the investment that is already made in earthquake monitoring.[2] More than 30 Congress members have signed a joint letter urging the President to add full funding for the system to his federal budget request.[11]

For a country like Pakistan, it’s impossible at this stage to invest millions of dollars on the Earthquake monitoring system, we cannot afford to buy this technology from other countries, even after investing millions on the ShakeAlert system this monitoring system still has errors which is highlighted through red color.  Rather than purchasing such an expensive earthquake monitoring system now, it’s time for us to also start working on such a project. My proposed Project can be easily implemented throughout the country.  Each earthquake monitoring station will be connected with the main monitoring station through an IoT Platform. The data coming from every station will be displayed on the chart along with the date and time information. Depending on the threshold values SMS and Email alerts can be generated to inform the higher authorities. During the practical demonstration, I will make two earthquake detecting devices and will connect them with the wifi network and I will send data to the IoT platform. During this testing, I will only be sending the vibrations detected.

My Proposed project is not as expensive as the ShakeAlert system.

Cost Analysis of my designed Earthquake Detector system:

PCB cost: 50Rs “one time cost”

Components: 1100Rs “one-time cost”

Wifi Router: 2500Rs “One time Cost”

The Earthquake Monitoring device has a total cost of  3650Rs which is one-time cost.

Wifi network cost: 500 Rs “Monthly cost”

The electricity bill is almost negligible as it’s a very low power device and the yearly cost for the device can only be the internet charges.

My proposed system is really cheap and does not need millions of dollars to implement. The further advancement can only be done on the programming side which I think will only cost a few thousand rupees. I am not worried about my proposed Real-time earthquake sensor network even if it has errors or some fault values, because no earthquake detector system has the most accurate results, as the vibrations can be due to many factors, even thunders create vibrations, but it can be analyzed by the local authority.


Components and Tools need for the Earthquake Detector Project

Before I am going to start working on this project first, I would like to list all the components and tools that I am going to use in building the prototype model. Following are the main components and tools along with Amazon purchase links.

Nodemcu ESP8266 Wifi Module https://amzn.to/31Py87h

SW-420 Vibration Sensor https://amzn.to/38j9kaj

LM7805 Voltage Regulator https://amzn.to/3buWwzC

330 Ohm Resistor https://amzn.to/2HccD7l

2.5v LEDs https://amzn.to/3bsastX

PCB Board https://amzn.to/39qFMaR

Solder Wire https://amzn.to/2SeLNBI

Soldering Iron https://amzn.to/37gpUWP

Digital Multimeter https://amzn.to/37fzI3p

DC Female Power Jack https://amzn.to/2vlHWd1

12v Adapter https://amzn.to/2tQPzIa

*Please Note: These are affiliate links. I may make a commission if you buy the components through these links. I would appreciate your support in this way!

Nodemcu ESP8266 Wifi Module:

Earthquake Detector

This is the Nodemcu ESP8266 Wifi Module that I will be using. As you can see in the picture this module have a lot of pins just like the Arduino Uno board. The programming style of the Nodemcu module is just like the Arduino Uno. Which you will see in the programming. Unlike the Arduino Uno, this module has digital IO pins, a reset button, onboard 3.3v voltage regulator. As this board has a 3.3v regulator so this module can be easily powered up using the 5 volts. When this module is connected with the Wifi any sensor connected with this module can be monitored from anywhere around the world.

For the easy installation of this Wifi Board, I designed my own PCB board. I will explain the PCB design in a minute.


SW-420 Vibration Sensor:

Earthquake Detector

This is the Vibration sensor Board. As you can see this Vibration sensor has three male headers and are clearly labeled with

D0

GND

VCC

This vibration sensor can be powered up using 3.3 volts or 5 Volts. I will be using 3.3 volts as in Nodemcu ESP8266 WIFI module we have 3.3 volts available.

LM7805 Voltage Regulator:

Earthquake Detector

This is one of the most frequently used voltage regulators. The LM7805 voltage regulator is a 5-volt regulator. 78 is the series while the last two digits represent the voltage which is 05. It means that this is a 5-volt voltage regulator.

This voltage Regulator will be used to power up the Nodemcu ESP8266 Wifi Module. As you can see clearly this voltage regulator has a total of 3 legs. The Leftmost leg is the Input, The middle leg is the Ground while the rightmost leg which is the leg number 3 is the Output.

7805 Specifications:

Maximum output current is 500 milli amps.

Output Voltage: 5V

Minimum Input Voltage: 7V

Maximum Input voltage should not exceed 25 volts.

Junction temperature 125c.

330 Ohm Resistor:

Earthquake Detector

This is a 330-ohm resistor that I have used in the circuit as the current limiting resistor. This resistor is used in the Power Supply with the 2.5v LED. As the 5 volts coming from the Voltage regulator can damage the 2.5v LED. That’s why I added this resistor in series with the LED. I will explain this in the Circuit diagram. But for now, I am going to explain how the value of this resistor is calculated.

For the Resistor Value calculation, I am going to use the Ohm’s formula which is

V = I R

As we know the available input voltage is 5 volts which are coming from the voltage regulator.

We also know that the LED voltage is 2.5 volts.

From the LED datasheet I found that red color led usually needs 20 milliamps. So

I = 20 milliamps

Now we can calculate the value of the resistor.

R = V / I

R =  ( 5 – 2.5 ) / 20 milli amps

R = 2.5 x 1000 / 20

R =  2500 / 20

R = 125 Ohm’s

So we will need to use a 125-ohm resistor in the series. This is the calculated value and we know that every value that is calculated is not necessary that I will be available in the market. From this value, we know that we are not supposed to reduce the value of the resistor below this value. But we will have no problem if we use a slightly larger value. So we can select another small value resistor in the same range is easily available in the market. The nearest value is the 330-ohm resistor. Using this resistor the led won’t get Hot and it can last for years.


2.5V LED:

Earthquake Detector

This is a 2.5v LED. As you can see this LED has two legs. If you look at the legs of this LED you will notice that one leg is slightly larger than the other leg. The larger led is the Anode while the shorter LEG is the cathode. This led will be used in the circuit for the Power ON indication. The resistor value calculation is already explained above.

DC Female Socket:

Earthquake Detector

This is the DC Female Power Socket. This component is found in almost all the electronics circuits which are powered up using the Adaptor. I have used this in my circuit for powering up the Circuit Board using 12 volts.

The tools used in this project can be seen in the methodology chapter, which is used during the soldering and Testing.

About the Soldering Iron:

I have a detailed tutorial on how to use a soldering Iron. You can watch the video tutorial give below or read the article.

Watch Video:

Read Article:

Soldering Iron Tips and How to use them


Earthquake Detector Project Methodology

The prototype model making was actually divided into the following four phases.

  1. Circuit diagram designing and PCB designing
  2. Circuit making, Soldering, and Testing.
  3. Nodemcu Programming
  4. UBIDOTS IoT platform setup

Earthquake Detector Project Circuit diagram:

Earthquake Detector

For the schematic making, I used the CadSoft Eagle latest version 9.1.0. Before making the final schematic or circuit diagram first, I performed all the basic experiments and once I was satisfied with the results then I developed this final circuit diagram. Let’s start with the Power supply which is based on the Voltage Regulator LM7805. 12v input is given to this voltage regulator through a DC Female power jack which is J1 in the circuit diagram. 470Uf capacitors are added with the voltage regulator input and output legs. The capacitor used at the input is optional but the capacitor at the output is compulsory. A resistor is connected in series with a 2.5v LED. This resistor is already explained above in the components and tools chapter in which I performed the calculations. This is a current limiting resistor and it’s only used to protect the LED from burning out.

The output of the voltage regulator is connected with the VIN pin of the Nodemcu ESP8266 Wifi module and I also connected the Grounds together.

As the vibration sensor is the digital sensor so that’s why the D0 pin of the vibration sensor is connected with the D0 pin of the Nodemcu Module. The VCC pin is connected with the 3.3 volts pin of the Nodemcu Module while the ground is connected with the ground.


Nodemcu ESP8266 Power Supply PCB Board:

Earthquake Detector

Earthquake Detector

After I completed the PCB designed then I sent my PCB design to the PCBWay Company for making High-Quality PCB’s.

Earthquake Detector
DIY IoT Weighing Scale using HX711 Load Cell, Nodemcu ESP8266, & Arduino

High quality & Only 24 Hours Build time:

For the easy interfacing, I designed a PCB board for the Nodemcu ESP8266 Wifi Module. This PCB is sponsored and manufactured by the PCBway Company, which is one of the most experienced PCB and PCB assembly manufacturer. They create high-quality PCBs at reasonable prices. As you can see the quality is really great, the silkscreen is quite clear and the black solder mask looks amazing. I am 100% satisfied with their work.

Download Gerber files:

Download link of the Nodemcu library for Cadsoft eagle:

After I received the PCB’s then started the soldering.

Earthquake Detector

I used 60 watts soldering Iron for the soldering job. After I was done with all the soldering then I used the Digital Multimeter for the short circuit testing. There was one short circuit which I then fixed. Following are the final circuit boards.

Earthquake Detector


Earthquake Detector, Nodemcu ESP8266 WIFI Module Programming:

As I said earlier I will make this for only two regions. So in this Project, I am using only two programs developed for two Nodemcu modules. Each Nodemcu module represents a separate region; I am considering Nowshera and Peshawar.

Earthquake Detector

Earthquake Detector Nodemcu Programming for Nowshera Region.


Earthquake Detector Nodemcu programming for Peshawar Region:

This way we can make multiple copies of the same hardware by only mentioning the region which will be displayed as the variable on the UBIDOTS IoT platform. The wifi name and the passwords can be different depending on the wifi settings. While the authentication used in all the programs should be the same.


UBIDOTS IoT Platform Setup for the Earthquake Detector Project

I created an account on the Ubidots IoT platform. Before setting up the Ubidots IOT platform first, I uploaded both the programs in the Nodemcu modules and turned on the circuit boards. This step is really important, because when we first power up the Nodemcu modules it sends the variables to the Ubidots IoT platform which can be then used. We can display the values on the charts and assign some conditions.

I started off by creating a free Ubidots account.

Earthquake Detector

After filling the forms and completing other requirements, finally, I got myself registered on the Ubidots IoT Platform.

Earthquake Detector

This is the token number that I used in my Nodemcu Programming. Without this token number communication with the Ubidots, IoT platform will not be possible. As I created a new account so there are no events, no Dashboards, and no devices.

As you can see there are no events.

Earthquake Detector

Now let’s check the devices, as I said earlier I have already powered up the two circuit boards. To check the devices click on the devices menu and then click on the devices.

Earthquake Detector


It will take you to the devices.

Earthquake Detector

You can see two variables, as have connected two Nodemcu modules one for the Nowshera region and another one for the Peshawar region. If we click on any of the variables we can see the region name.

Earthquake Detector

As you can see the first variable belongs to the Nowshera regions and obviously the second variable belongs to the Peshawar region.

 

Earthquake Detector

Currently, you can see the value is 0.00 as there is no vibration detected by the sensor. To check the sensors I manually created vibration.

Earthquake Detector

Earthquake Detector

I successfully detected the vibration from both the regions. Now to make it more user-friendly I decided to use a dashboard and use some charts so that I can display the vibrations on the chart along with the date and time information. For this, I clicked on the Data menu and then selected dashboards.

Earthquake Detector

Then I clicked on the add new dashboard and set the name earthquake monitoring network.

Earthquake Detector

Then I clicked on the add new widget and added two charts and selected the desired variables Nowshera and Peshawar.

Earthquake Detector

Now using the charts I was able to monitor the vibration from any of the two regions. I can monitor both the regions in realtime. Now to make it more powerful I decided to add the Email notification system as well. So whenever there is any vibration, an email is sent on the desired email id. For this, I simply created an even and use a condition, if the value of any of the regions is greater than 1000 then send an email. We can use multiple email ids.

Earthquake Detector

After this I tested it and I got emails.

CONCLUSION

I successfully monitored both the regions; I successfully received the vibration vales on the Ubidots IoT platform. I was able to monitor both the regions in real-time. I also received the emails for both regions. The vibration values received are not the actually values as I didn’t define any range and I didn’t check it against the real earthquake. I performed my tests and I was able to detect very minor vibrations. Defining actual values will only be possible if this system is installed in real. This Project needs further research to calibrate the sensor so that it can give the actual values as per the earthquake. But for my research work, it was more than enough, and I successfully demonstrated this, that my idea can be used in real. As the cost is really low. So that’s all about the Earthquake Detector system.

In the future, this project can be modified by adding the gyroscopes and this way we can monitor the x-axis, y-axis and z-axis values of the sensor.

Watch the Video tutorial:

 

References:

  1. Burkett, Erin R.; Given, Douglas D.; Jones, Lucile M. (2014-01-01). “ShakeAlert: an earthquake early warning system for the United States West Coast”. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2014–3083. doi:3133/fs20143083.
  2. Jump up to:ab Given, D.D; Cochran, E.S.; Heaton, T.; Hauksson, E.; Vidale, J.; Bodin, P. (May 12, 2014). “Technical Implementation Plan for the ShakeAlert Production System—An Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast of the United States”. U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report. doi:3133/ofr20141097. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  3. Jump up to:ab  “ShakeAlert”. Retrieved October 2015. Check date values in: |accessdate=(help)
  4. ^ “ShakeAlert”. http://www.shakealert.org. Check date values in: |accessdate=(help); External link in |website= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date=requires |url= (help)
  5. ^Wenzel, F (2013). Early Warning for Geological Disasters: Scientific Methods and Current Practice.
  6. Jump up to:ab Xia, Rosanna (2014-11-23). “Earthquake early alert system ready to expand in California”. Los Angeles Times.
  7. Jump up to:ab Allen, Richard M.; Given, Douglas D.; Heaton, Thomas H.; Vidale, John E. (2014). “Successful ShakeAlert Performance for the Napa Quake”. 2014 AGU Fall Meeting. San Francisco, CA (S44D-01).
  8. ^“Experimental warning system gave 10-second alert before California earthquake”CBS News. 2014-08-24. Archived from the original on 25 August 2014.
  9. ^Block, Melissa. “In Latest Calif. Earthquake, Shake Alert Tests Its Legs”. NPR. Retrieved 2015-08-23.
  10. ^“Earthquake Early-Warning System”. Moore Foundation. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  11. ^Lin, Rong-gong (2015-03-25). “Congress members urge $16 million to fund quake early warning system”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-10-24.

http://www.ioc-unesco.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=86:pakistan-setting-up-earthquake-and-tsunami-warning-system&catid=16&Itemid=100061

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/earlywarning/background.php

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About the Author: Engr Fahad

My name is Shahzada Fahad and I am an Electrical Engineer. I have been doing Job in UAE as a site engineer in an Electrical Construction Company. Currently, I am running my own YouTube channel "Electronic Clinic", and managing this Website. My Hobbies are * Watching Movies * Music * Martial Arts * Photography * Travelling * Make Sketches and so on...

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