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Monday, May 25, 2020

The coronavirus lockdown is changing the way Earth vibrates: Here’s how

The lockdown and isolation policies around the world to stop the spread of coronavirus has resulted in the planet becoming less noisy, which comes as good news for seismologists

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: April 6, 2020 9:01:17 am
corona lockdown, covid lockdown, seismic noise, seismologist, earth vibrations Representational image of Mumbai under lockdown. (Express Photo)

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, countries around the world have ordered lockdown or isolation policies shutting down factories and halting manufacturing of all kinds. This has resulted in a wrecked world economy, but at the same time gave the planet a sigh of relief.

We have already seen how much the air quality around the world has improved over the past couple of months. However, the lockdown has not just reduced air pollution. As per a report by Nature, scientists have claimed that there is less seismic noise and vibrations under the Earth’s crust.

Seismic noise refers to the vibrations produced by everyday human activity and travel that shake the Earth’s crust. These vibrations build off one another and end up interfering with the ability of seismologists to detect important events such as tsunamis and earthquakes.

The movement of Earth’s crust is not only dependent on natural events like Earthquakes, but also determined by the combined effect of industrial machinery and moving vehicles on the surface of the planet. The seismic noise at times becomes so disruptive that it makes seismic stations useless.

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The report highlights that with a substantial drop in the use of all kinds of industrial activities and lesser use of transport around the world, the usual vibrations in Earth’s crust have decreased. As per the report, it could help seismologists detect even those small-magnitude earthquakes, which was not possible earlier because of the noise.

Seismic stations and seismologists from around the world have been sharing the graphs of Earth’s vibrations showing a decline in the frequencies caused by human activities.

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