Earth is vibrating and shaking less than it used to because of COVID-19, multiple researchers say.
What’s going on:
- Seismologists have discovered that there is less seismic noise around the world, which means there are less vibrations from trains, cars and buses throughout the world because so many people are staying home and social distancing, CNN reports.
- The lack of noise means “Earth’s upper crust is moving just a little less,” according to CNN.
- Thomas Lecocq, a geologist and seismologist at the Royal Observatory in Belgium, was one of the first to discover the change in sound in Belgium, where vibrations have decreased about one-third because of new social distancing and quarantine restrictions, according to CBS News.
- Lecocq and other researchers told CNN they’ve picked up on smaller earthquakes and shakes because there’s less general seismic noise from transportation.
- Paula Koelemeijer posted a graphic on Twitter that showed West London’s decreased in noise levels, too.
How the seismic noise on our little @raspishake seismometer running in West London (Twickenham) has been affected by the #covid19UK lockdown. This is a month of data for station R091F. The average noise levels are down reflecting fewer trains, buses and cars. pic.twitter.com/WmJLmAO18k— Paula Koelemeijer (@seismo_koel) March 31, 2020
Stephen Hicks used the same graphic to show show the background seismic noise has dropped, too.
Why it matters:
- The TeCake said researchers believe “this could permit detectors to identify smaller sized quakes as well as enhance initiatives to track volcanic task as well as various other seismic events.”
- The lack of noise could help scientists discover waves and patterns in seismic activity, too, that they wouldn’t normally see, according to The TeCake.