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Less vibration in Earth’s crust due to lockdown

Date: 06 April 2020 Tags: Geography & Environment


According an article in the journal Nature, efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus meant that the planet itself is moving a little less, which could allow detectors to spot smaller earthquakes and boost efforts to monitor volcanic activity and other seismic events.



Researchers have reported a drop in seismic noise (the hum of vibrations in the planets crust) because transport networks, real estate and other human activities have been shut down.



  • Vibrations caused by moving vehicles and industrial machinery produce background noise, which reduces seismologists' ability to detect other signals occurring at the same frequency.

  • Geoscientists use a detector buried 100 metres beneath the Earth’s surface. But, now the natural vibrations can be studied easily through the surface seismic readings as well.

  • Data from a seismometer at the observatory show that measures to curb the spread of covid-19 in Brussels caused human-induced seismic noise to fall by about one-third.

  • Geologists have also observed similar trends of a drop in seismic vibrations in Paris, London, Los Angeles, and Aukland due to ongoing lockdown.

  • The fall in noise could also benefit seismologists who use naturally occurring background vibrations, such as those from crashing ocean waves, to probe Earth's crust.