“Our day-to-day lives result in small ground movements – for example, by cars, trains, building sites and other industries. These human-induced vibrations, called seismic noise by seismologists, vary with the human activity.” –Dr. Martin Möllhoff
There have been tons of unintended positive outcomes of the worldwide restrictions of human movement including a reduction in greenhouse gasses, wildlife reemerging in urban areas and according to seismologists, a quieting effect on human vibration called ‘seismic noise’ allowing for unique data collecting opportunities:
“Worldwide social restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic affect not only levels of air pollution, but also how much the ground beneath our feet vibrates. With the current Covid-19 restrictions on human movement, INSN seismic noise levels have been markedly reduced.”
With roadways largely empty and construction projects put on pause, the dramatic drop in ‘seismic noise’ has been a boon to scientific research:
“Such lowered seismic noise levels can enhance the capability of a seismic network to detect small earthquakes and are testament to the high levels of compliance with Covid-19 movement restrictions.” –Prof. Chris Bean
While sheltering in place has presented its challenges for most everyone effected, we can rest assured that it has also provided incredible opportunities for scientific research that may benefit us in the future. GO SCIENCE!
images from Ken Lund