(CNN) — The streets of the cities, once so crowded, now empty. The traffic on the roads has been reduced to a minimum. And each time you can find fewer people walking away from their homes.
The containment measures to combat the spread of coronavirus apparently you have fact that the world is much more peaceful. Scientists are also noting.
Around the world, seismologists are watching much less seismic noise ambient, that is to say, the vibrations generated by cars, trains, buses and people doing their day to day lives. And with the absence of that noise, the upper crust of the Earth moves a little less.
Thomas Lecocq geologist, seismologist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, noted for the first time this phenomenon in Brussels.
Brussels is looking at a reduction of 30% to 50% in the seismic noise ambient from the middle of march, when the country began to implement the closure of schools and businesses and other social distancing measures, according to Lecocq. This noise level is on par with what the seismologists would be on Christmas, ” he said.
Less noise means that the seismologists can detect smaller events
The reduction in the noise has had an effect particularly interesting in Brussels: Lecocq and other seismologists can detect earthquakes smaller and other seismic events that some seismic stations would not have registered.
Let us look, for example, the seismic station in Brussels. In normal times, according to Lecocq, is “basically useless”.
The seismic stations are usually installed outside of urban areas, because the noise of human small makes it easier to detect subtle vibrations in the ground. Brussels, however, was built more than a century ago and since then the city has expanded around it.
The hum of daily life in the city means that the station in Brussels is not usually detect seismic events smaller. Seismologists in place both trusted in a drilling station separate, which uses a pipe in the ground to monitor the seismic activity.
“But at the moment, due to the tranquility of the city, is almost as good as deep,” said Lecocq.
Seismologists in other cities are seeing similar effects in their own cities.
Paula Koelemeijer published a graphic on Twitter that shows how it has been affected by the noise in west London, with declines in the period subsequent to the closing of schools and places of social gathering in United Kingdom and again after it announced a government shutdown.
Celeste Labedz, a doctoral student at the California Institute of Technology, published a graph that shows a decline particularly marked in Los Angeles.
Even so, seismologists say that the reduction in noise is a sobering reminder of a virus that has sickened more than a million people, killed tens of thousands and stopped the normal rhythms of life.
People are paying attention to the rules of confinement
Lecocq said that the graphs showing the noise human are evidence that people are listening to the orders of confinement of the authorities and to minimize the external activity as much as possible.
“From the point of view of seismological, we can motivate people to say: ‘Look. They feel that they are alone at home, but we can say that all are in the house. All are doing the same thing. All are respecting the rules’,” he said.
The data can also be used to identify where the containment measures may not be as effective, said Raphael De Plaen, postdoctoral researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
“That could be used in the future by decision makers to say: ‘OK, we’re not doing things well. We need to work on that and make sure that people respect this because we are interested in this at all’”.