The coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak that is sweeping the globe has been devastating, but through that devastation, some fields of science are benefiting due to the quiet on the streets.
One of these scientific fields is the study of how Earth moves. This field is seismology, which is the study of earthquakes and seismic waves that move throughout Earth. Since the whole globe has basically been asked to stay indoors and only leave for essential items, many forms of transportation have been reduced considerably, this allows for seismologists such as Thomas Lecocq from the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels to get more accurate readings on his measuring instruments.
Lecocq reported that due to the global lockdown, there had been a drop in the seismic noise, which is the hum of the planet's crust. This reduction in seismic noise could be attributed to the decline in overall transportation vehicles in motion and other general human activities being put on hold. Transportation doesn't cause that much seismic noise but does create some background noise that makes it difficult for seismologists to measure smaller earthquakes.
If the lockdown continues, seismologists around the world should be able to examine smaller earthquakes better and pinpoint their location much more efficiently. Andy Frassetto, a seismologist at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology in Washington DC, says "You'll get a signal with less noise on top, allowing you to squeeze a little more information out of those events".
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