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Science & Technology

Lockdown is causing Earth's crust to fall silent

By T.K. Randall
April 3, 2020 · Comment icon 14 comments

The Pale Blue Dot has been a lot quieter of late. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 NikoLang
Scientists have revealed that the coronavirus lockdown has reduced the level of vibrations in the Earth's crust.
With most people being forced to remain indoors due to the ongoing pandemic, things are certainly quieter these days.

Recent reports have revealed that the reduction in activity has resulted in a marked reduction in pollution levels over many of the world's biggest cities and now it appears as though the Earth's crust itself may also be experiencing a level of quiet on a scale that is typically only seen on Christmas Day.

Normally, the vibrations produced by cars, factories, construction works and humans simply going about their daily business cause the planet's outer layer to vibrate or 'hum'.

Now however, seismologists at the Royal Observatory in Belgium have reported a significant reduction in vibration levels of up to 50 percent in Brussels since the country went into lockdown.
Similar reductions have also been reported in major cities all across the world.

This quiet period is not only making it easier to pick up signs of smaller earthquakes but has also highlighted the impact that our lives collectively have on the planet as a whole.

"Every individual thinks he is 'alone at home', but all together, we are making something big for the 'seismic environment' - and we can probably learn a lesson here for other parts of the environment," seismologist Thomas Lecocq told The Independent.

"The reason we are home is terrifying, but in the future, maybe, some critical number of individuals will change their ways, avoiding single-occupancy car-commuting."

Source: Independent | Comments (14)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by XenoFish 4 years ago
Then you have the issue of a planets possible natural tectonic activity. 
Comment icon #6 Posted by qxcontinuum 4 years ago
This statement is ridiculous. Earths magnetic field oscillations alone can cause variations in the earth's crust
Comment icon #7 Posted by toast 4 years ago
I think you missed this: It is likely that life forms which use vehicles, factories and do construction works will have communication channels based on the  electromagnetic spectrum, means, radio signals.  
Comment icon #8 Posted by Herr Falukorv 4 years ago
Meenwhile here in Sweden we live and go on in our daily lives as we have allways done.. As if covid 19 never existed...
Comment icon #9 Posted by Herr Falukorv 4 years ago
Eeeeehhhh and just how ..... can you explain how....... and how..... Ehhh just forget it...... 
Comment icon #10 Posted by tmcom 4 years ago
It is borderline climate change dogma, of course it is ridiculous. I wish l lived there, considering our Dictator Dan Premier,and his just as stupid, virus/global warming lacky are doing to our state.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Nnicolette 4 years ago
Good point, I considered that but postulate that it would be less like the hum of lots of activity and more like large movements here and there. Wouldn't hurt to identify tectonically active planets if we could too, i mean it used to be considered an indicator of habitability, i think this idea may have changed a bit, but it still is a sign of internal warmth which could very well facilitate a habitable range under the surface of such a place that might otherwise be too distant from it's star.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Nnicolette 4 years ago
The fact that vehicles and factories were included doesn't mean that "humans going about their daily lives" was excluded. If you have ever witnessed a beehive or mass of insects humming it would be pretty obvious that they did not need vehicles for their collective movements to be heard. Try reading comprehensively, i think you missed what I said. Why can't you grasp the fact that life that moves... Is obviously more abundant and likely than life that uses radiowaves specifically to communicate? Also I dont know why me saying "if we found a way" needs to be followed with all the demands for ho... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by Doug1029 4 years ago
We might be able to detect a signal in radio waves modulated by a vibrating surface.  Such has been used before to "hear" sound produced by a celestial body. Of course, there are lots of things that could produce such a sound.  How would we know what an inhabited plant sounds like? Doug
Comment icon #14 Posted by Doug1029 4 years ago
I'm not surprised to hear that the earth is quieter.  We make all sorts of low-intensity sound.  Anheuser-Busch has to inform the local seismic station every time they take the Clydes for a gallop. Doug

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