Current pandemic makes the Earth less vibrate, scientists say


We have already seen some of the benefits that the planet has experienced recently, as people around the world practice self-isolation.

And now it seems that the global measures put in place to fight the pandemic are having even greater effects on this planet we call home – and scientists are also noticing it.

Seismologists around the world have reported seeing much less seismic noise recently, which means that the vibrations caused by cars, trains, buses, and just the general hustle and bustle of normal life, have all decreased.

As a result, the Earth’s upper crust – which generally faces the bulk of the seismic noise – moves slightly less.

The first scientist to report it was Thomas Lecocq, geologist and seismologist at the Royal Observatory in Brussels, Belgium.

The European capital is currently seeing between 30% and 50% reduction in ambient seismic noise since mid-March, roughly when Belgium began to close schools and businesses, while introducing social distancing measures CNN reports.

Lecocq said these lower levels are similar to what they would expect to see on Christmas Day, when people tend to stay at home or travel very little.

While this noise reduction is in progress, it has enabled seismologists like Lecocq to be able to detect smaller earthquakes and other seismic events that would otherwise not be detected in the midst of the noise.

Lecocq admitted that the Brussels seismic station is “fundamentally useless” because it generally finds it difficult to pick up anything beyond the daily noise.

Usually, these stations are located in less urban areas, where there is less human noise, which facilitates the detection of seismic events, but the Brussels station is more than a century old and the city has evolved and has grown a lot since then.

Other seismologists see the same effects occurring in their own cities, for example Paula Koelemeijer, who posted a graph on Twitter to show how much noise in west London has been affected.

Fortunately, Lecocq says the graphs show that the majority of people submit to government advice, stay indoors and minimize outdoor activities as much as possible.

Data can also be used to determine where containment measures are not as effective and where people are breaking the rules.

It’s okay not to panic about everything that’s going on in the world right now. The goal of LADbible and UNILAD with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from people who are qualified to comment or who have experienced first-hand the situation we face. For more information on the World Health Organization, click here.


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