If you happen to own a Mac laptop, you can transform your computer into your own personal seismic station, according to Richard Monastersky in today’s The Wired Campus.
He writes that "a free program from SeisMac takes advantage of the acceleration sensor inside you computer to register when it gets the shakes. The program was developed with support from the National Science Foundation and from the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, a consortium of nearly 100 universities."
Monastersky also says that a new project called the Quake-Catcher Network could allow you to be part of earthquake science. "[S]everal California universities have created the network to use the distributed power of people’s laptops to provide quick data about the strength of shaking during earthquakes. The program works with many kinds of laptops. Because wireless networks send signals faster than vibrations can spread through the Earth, data from laptops in theory can speed ahead of the shaking and provide advance warning before harmful seismic waves strike regions that are more distant from a quake’s epicenter."