COVID-19 is Actually Causing The Earth to Move Less
Seismic activity levels are actually slowing
With roughly one-third of the world’s population on lockdown, our planet has fallen silent. So silent, in fact, that the Earth has quite literally stilled—a reduction in the hum of human activity has caused a decrease in the Earth’s crust vibrations, scientists say.
As Nature explains, on a daily basis, various man-powered movements contribute to background seismic noise, or a persistent vibration of the Earth’s crust: engines firing up in a factory, a truck roaring down a highway, the rumbling of a train pulling into a station. Individually they’re insignificant, but taken together they weave a blanket of high-frequency sounds that make it more difficult for seismologists to detect signals occurring at the same frequency, such as a brewing volcano or the aftershocks of an earthquake.
But with many of these motions on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers are observing less seismic noise. Seismologists at the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels noticed that vibrations due to human activity dropped by about one-third after the city introduced coronavirus containment measures, according to seismometer data.
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