Earth is less noisy during COVID-19, say seismologists

Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Apr 03, 2020, 11:47 AM(IST)

Representative image Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Turns out, the earth is also less noisy!

The world has come to an abrupt halt, quite literally!

As the killer COVID-19 pandemic slows down the economy, the streets look more doomsday than ever before!

Turns out, the earth is also less noisy! Seismologists around the world have now observed that the ambient seismic noise is way lesser than it was a month ago.

For clarity, ambient seismic noise refers to subtle noise pollution caused by vehicles, public transport, and essentially, people!

Owing to this, the planet’s upper crust is witnessing lesser movement.

First recorded at the Royal Observatory in Belgium by Thomas Lecocq, a seismologist, the city of Brussels witnessed a whooping 30 to 50 per cent reduction in seismic noises.

As social distancing becomes the norm, most institutions remain shut. In Christian countries, the same noise level is recorded on Christmas Day, the major yearly festival.

Earth from space | AFP

What does this mean?

The effect of decreased noise is simple: seismologists can now record smaller earthquakes and certain smaller events. If this were the norm, many earthquakes could be recorded earlier with quicker mitigation measures!

In conversation with CNN, Lecocq said that the Brussels station is otherwise useless.

Usually, such stations are situated outside cities to evade the noise and for better performance. However, the one in Brussels was made over a century ago, with the city growing around it.

This suggests that people over the world are, for once, not ignoring the warnings by authorities to stay inside and minimise outdoor activity.

This data, in turn, could be used to understand the success and failure of containment measures, ie, where they’ve been more effective and where not.

Based on this, quick mitigation strategies could be organised in states performing badly.

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