Some international flights were diverted and several communities evacuated in the early hours of Friday morning after Mount Tavurvur erupted on Papua New Guinea.
Events like this are devastating for local communities and to help scientists better understand volcanic activity the British Geological Survey wants your help to gather data in your area.
myVolcano is a free iPhone app where you can share photographs and descriptions of volcanic hazards you’ve encountered. Collecting samples to send to the researchers is an important job but needs to be done scientifically, and the app will guide you through the process if you want to help out. Just don’t get too close or you could void your phone’s warranty!
If you are close to an eruption you’ll probably experience an earthquake. The National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) records about 50 earthquakes a day around the world, but it’s estimated there are millions more every year that are too weak to be recorded, but there are plenty of apps to help you keep track of seismic activity where you are as well as keep tabs on any quakes happening around the world.
Quakefeed is free on iOS and as well as alerting you when there is a global earthquake above magnitude-6 there’s a map view and educational feed of news and articles to help you understand more about this natural phenomenon.
Earthquake Alert! is a similar free app for android users, reporting on tremors over magnitude-4.5.
The largest recorded earthquake happened in Chile in 1960 and registered magnitude-9.5. Grabbing your smartphone is likely to be pretty low on your list of priorities if the earth is moving to that extent but if you do want to measure seismic activity, iSeismometer is a free app for iOS, Android and Windows Phone that detects vibrations in real time, displaying the strength of the tremor on a graph.
The app is also available as an HTML5 mobile website at http://m.iseismometer.com/, so it can be used on any device that has the ability to register vibrations.