Photo by Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An early-alert system designed to give people crucial seconds of warning before earthquakes lived up to its promise on Monday. It buzzed through a half a million phones ahead of a 6.2 magnitude earthquake that hit northwest California — the largest quake since the system, called ShakeAlert, rolled out across the entire state, The Guardian reported.

ShakeAlert pulls information from the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) sensor network. If data from those sensors says there will be major shaking in an area, people living there get alerts through the MyShake app (if they’ve downloaded it), or through the wireless emergency alerts system on their phones. Alerts also go out to Android users through a partnership between Google, USGS,…

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