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The Earth Is Shaking Less Because of Coronavirus Lockdowns

Seismologists are now detecting smaller tremors, following the pandemic lockdowns.

Mark Andrew

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  • The coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it.
  • Governments have implemented lockdowns to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • As a result, the earth is vibrating less, according to seismology experts.

With countries implementing strict lockdown measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, the world has become noticeably less busy. Most flights and travels have been suspended. Schools and non-essential businesses have also been closed. People are encouraged to stay home and practice social distancing whenever they head outdoors.

In India, this has resulted to better air quality in some of its most polluted cities. And according to some scientists, the earth is shaking lesser than usual, too.

Seismologists are reporting lesser vehicle-generated vibrations following the pandemic and because of that, the planet’s upper crust is moving less.

Case in point, geologist and seismologist Thomas Lecocq has shared that Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is experiencing 30% to 50% fewer ambient seismic noise since the middle of March, similar to what happens whenever Christmas Day comes around.

According to Lecocq, this new trend allows them to detect and record smaller tremors much easier – which would not have been possible otherwise.

Meanwhile, another seismologist Paula Koelemeijer shared a graph online showing how noise has likewise significantly dropped in West London following the government-implemented lockdown.

The same can be said in some areas in the United States as explained by Andy Frassetto, a seismologist for Washington DC’s Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology.

“You’ll get a signal with less noise on top, allowing you to squeeze a little more information out of those events,” he said.

Lecocq, on the other hand, pointed out that the trend is truly encouraging not only for their line of work, but that more people are doing their best to fight the disease.

“From the seismological point of view, we can motivate people to say, ‘OK look, people. You feel like you’re alone at home, but we can tell you that everyone is home. Everyone is doing the same. Everyone is respecting the rules,” he said.

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