Current Pandemic Is Making The Earth Vibrate Less, Scientists Say

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 05 Apr 2020 17:28
Current Pandemic Is Making The Earth Vibrate Less, Scientists SayNASA

We’ve already seen some of the benefits the planet has experienced recently, as people all over the world practice self-isolation.

Pollution has visibly lifted from a number of cities, as well as wildlife reclaiming urban spaces, and fish returning to the canals of Venice while tourism in Italy remains at a halt.


And now, it seems the global measures put in place to combat the pandemic are having even bigger effects on this planet we call home – and scientists are noticing it too.

Current Pandemic Is Making The Earth Vibrate Less, Scientists SayPA Images

Seismologists all over the world have reported seeing a lot less seismic noise lately, which means the vibrations caused by cars, trains, buses and just the general hustle and bustle of normal life, have all reduced.

As a result, Earth’s upper crust – which usually faces the brunt of the seismic noise – is moving a little bit less.


The first scientist to point it out was Thomas Lecocq, a geologist and seismologist from the Royal Observatory in Brussels, Belgium.

The European capital is currently seeing between a 30% and 50% reduction in ambient seismic noise since mid-March, which is around the time Belgium began closing schools and businesses, while introducing social distancing measures, CNN reports.

Lecocq said these lower levels are similar to what they would expect to see on Christmas Day, when people tend to stay in their own homes or do minimal travelling.


While this reduction of noise is taking place, it has allowed seismologists like Lecocq to be able to pick up on smaller earthquakes and other seismic events that would otherwise go undetected amid the noise.

Lecocq admitted the seismic station in Brussels is ‘basically useless’, because it ordinarily struggles to pick up on anything beyond the everyday noise.

Usually these stations are located in less urban areas, where there is less human-made noise, making it easier to pick up on seismic events, however the station in Brussels is more than a century old and the city as evolved and grown a lot since then.


Other seismologists are seeing the same effects taking place in their own cities, for example Paula Koelemeijer, who posted a graph on Twitter to show just how noise in west London has been affected.

Fortunately, Lecocq says the graphs show that the majority of people are listing to government advice, staying inside and minimising outdoor activity as much as possible.

The data can also be used to work out where containment measures are not as effective and where people are flouting the rules.

It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: Science, Earth, Pollution


  1. CNN

    The coronavirus pandemic is making Earth vibrate less