Surprising effect of lockdowns on Earth
The coronavirus pandemic has left most of the world's major cities, including London, New York and others, empty. It's also having one surprising effect on the planet as well.
The Earth has essentially stopped vibrating.
With travel effectively ground to a halt, seismologists around the globe have reported a drop in seismic noise, according to an article in the scientific journal Nature.
Researchers say the drop in activity, usually only seen to this magnitude around Christmas, could help experts find smaller earthquakes and monitor volcanic activity more effectively.
"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
"There's a big chance indeed it could lead to better measurements," Thomas Lecocq, a seismologist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, added.
Lecocq told CNN that Brussels was seeing a 30 to 50 per cent reduction in ambient noise since it went on lockdown in the middle of March.
The Royal Observatory made sure to note the Earth was "still shaking," just at a significantly smaller measure.
Our staff is teleworking. The earth continues shaking. Ground movements at frequencies 1-20 Hz, mainly due to human activity (cars, trains, industries,...) are much lower since the implementation of the containment measures by the government. #StayHome @ibzbe @CrisiscenterBE pic.twitter.com/pGgQAyLuUP— Seismologie.be (@Seismologie_be) March 20, 2020
On March 27, the data from the observatory was even clearer, showing the changes in the Earth's movement.
Researchers in other parts of the globe, including in Los Angeles and West London, U.K., noticed a similar occurrence, Nature added.
The environmental benefits of countries being in lock down across the world have caused many to rejoice.
From clearer water in Venice to blue skies in Beijing, the world is seeing a positive benefit on the environment as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
But experts are warning not to call it a silver lining, saying things will no doubt return to normal, with pollution levels even returning with a vengeance.
They also say reductions in pollution and emissions should be done without ruining economies.
Originally published as Surprising effect of lockdowns on Earth