Tweets move faster than earthquakes

at 04:04 PM ET, 08/25/2011

After Tuesday’s earthquake in Virginia, Mashable’s Lauren Indvik wrote that “Tweets began pouring in from D.C. nearly 30 seconds before we felt the quake at our headquarters in New York City.” Randall Munroe, the author of XKCD, has already memorably explained how tweets can move faster than earthquakes (seismic waves travel at about 3 to 5 kilometers per second, whereas fiber signals travel about 200,000 kilometers per second).

But why not a movie? Here, via Sune Lehmann and Alan Mislove of Harvard’s Complexity and Social Networks blog, is a video charting tweets mentioning the earthquake as they spread out across the East Cost, outrunning the actual quake itself:

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