Seismologists made an interesting observation as cities and countries around the world are on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. With over one billion people forced to stay at home, the amount of seismic noise decreased.
In Belgium, officials noticed a decrease of the noise between 30% and 50% starting in mid-March when the country ordered schools and non-essential businesses to close. Researchers said that the drop-off in noise, which is caused mostly by vehicles and industrial machinery, is on par with what they see during major holidays such as Christmas.
A graph of the daily noise from the past month in Los Angeles shows a steep drop off when California issued a statewide stay at home order, forcing all non-essential businesses to close.
As a result, seismographs are able to detect smaller earthquakes and volcanic activity, giving researchers a rare opportunity to study the seismic activity of the planet.
“You’ll get a signal with less noise on top, allowing you to squeeze a little more information out of those events,” Andy Frassetto, a seismologist at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology in Washington, D.C., told Nature.
To keep up to date on the latest news about the coronavirus and to understand what you need to stay safe and healthy, check out the Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction podcast from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Photo: Getty Images