The coronavirus shutdown is causing the Earth to move a little less

Taylor Watson
·1 min read

The effects of the coronavirus shutdown are being felt everywhere, even in the Earth's crust.

The decrease in activity and transportation have led to a noticeable drop in seismic noise — the usual "hum of vibrations in the planet's crust." This quietude could help seismologists detect smaller earthquakes and more closely monitor volcanic activity, Nature reports.

Moving vehicles and industrial machinery usually cause vibrations that can get in the way of researchers looking to detect signals at the same frequency. A drop in activity of this size is typically only seen briefly at Christmastime, Thomas Lecocq, a seismologist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels, told Nature.

"There's a big chance indeed it could lead to better measurements," Lecocq said. This includes a better chance at finding the locations of aftershocks, said Andy Frassetto, a seismologist at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology. During the shutdown, seismologists are hoping to "squeeze a little more information on those events," he said. Read more at Nature.

More stories from theweek.com
The Secret Service signed an 'emergency order' this week — for 30 golf carts
Experts warn as many as 1 in 3 coronavirus test results may be incorrectly negative
John Mulaney and Nick Kroll revive their Oh, Hello characters for a podcast investigating Princess Diana's death