The Earth is shaking less due to the coronavirus


Scientists from the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) were the very first to notice a real decrease in the Earth's vibrations. The reason? The lockdown caused by the coronavirus.

As half of humanity is forced into lockdown, everyone is aware that, seen from the outside, the planet is calmer.  It will be calmer in its core as well.

Seismologists have observed a significant reduction in ambient seismic noise due to the gradual limitation of a number of human activities, both industrial and those linked to more day-to-day activities such as road and rail traffic or even children shouting at school.

In Brussels in particular, this ambient seismic noise is said to have decreased by 30 to 50% since lockdown was announced on 18 March. Such low measurements are usually only observed in cities on Christmas Day.

The ROB scientists were thus able to demonstrate that a significant and prolonged reduction in this noise causes the earth's crust to move a little less. This finding was later corroborated by other researchers around the world.

The observation actually became more obvious to Thomas Lecocq and his colleagues due to reasons beyond their control. In contrast to most measuring stations, which are generally located outside the city, the ROB building was constructed more than a century ago in the municipality of Uccle. It was a haven of calm at the time, but has since been swallowed up by the growing urbanisation of the capital.