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Global quieting of high-frequency seismic noise due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures

July 23, 2020

Human activity causes vibrations that propagate into the ground as high-frequency seismic waves. Measures to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread changes in human activity, leading to a months-long reduction in seismic noise of up to 50%. The 2020 seismic noise quiet period is the longest and most prominent global anthropogenic seismic noise reduction on record. While the reduction is strongest at surface seismometers in populated areas, this seismic quiescence extends for many kilometers radially and hundreds of meters in depth. This provides an opportunity to detect subtle signals from subsurface seismic sources that would have been concealed in noisier times and to benchmark sources of anthropogenic noise. A strong correlation between seismic noise and independent measurements of human mobility suggests that seismology provides an absolute, real-time estimate of population dynamics.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Global quieting of high-frequency seismic noise due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures
DOI 10.1126/science.abd2438
Authors Thomas Lecocq, Stephen Hicks, Koen Van Noten, Kasper van Wijk, Paula Koelemeijer, Raphael S.M. De Plaen, Frederick Massin, Gregor Hillers, Robert E. Anthony, Maria-Theresia Apoloner, Mario Arroyo-Solorzano, Jelle D. Assink, Pinar Buyukakpinar, Andrea Cannata, Flavio Cannavo, Sebastian Carrasco, Corentin Caudron, Esteban J. Chaves, David G. Cornwell, David Craig, Oliver F.C. den Ouden, Jordi Diaz, Stefanie Donner, Christos P. Evangelidis, Laslo Evers, Benoit Fauville, Gonzalo A. Fernandez, Dimitrios Giannopoulos, Steven J. Gibbons, Tarsilo Girona, Bogdan Grecu, Marc Grunberg, Gyorgy Hetenyi, Anna Horleston, Adolfo Inza, Jessica C.E. Irving, Mohammadreza Jamalreyhani, Alan Kafka, Mathijs R. Koymans, Celeste Labedz, Eric Larose, Nathaniel J. Lindsey, Mika McKinnon, Tobias Megies, Meghan S. Miller, William G. Minarik, Louis Moresi, Victor H. Marquez-Ramirez, Martin Mollhoff, Ian Nesbitt, Shankho Niyogi, Javier Ojeda, Adrien Oth, Simon Proud, Jay Pulli, Lise Retailleau, Annukka E. Rintamaki, Claudio Satriano, Martha K. Savage, Shanhar Shani-Kamiel, Reinoud Sleeman, Efthimios Sokos, Klaus Stammler, Alexander E. Stott, Shiba Subedi, Mathilde B. Sorensen, Taka'aki Taira, Mar Tapia, Faith Turhan, Ben van der Pluijm, Mark Vanstone, Jerome Vernge, Tommi A.T. Vuorinen, Tristram Warren, Joachim Wassermann, Han Xiao
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science
Index ID 70211479
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geologic Hazards Science Center

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