Half Of Earth On Lockdown Has Changed How Our Planet Moves.

An estimated four billion people - about half the entire world's population - are under varying lockdown procedures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

And the results are seismic in scale...

While the pandemic has brought the global economy to its knees, the effects of half the world on lockdown has created a massive reduction in Earth's movement. 

A type of phenomenon only experienced during Christmas day and in certain parts of the world. 

We are living in the largest decrease in constant drumming of industry, traffic, heavy machinery, flights, and basic human movement of any variety has correlated with a massive decrease in planetary shaking in generations.

These vibrations - referred to as seismic noise - are artificial, manmade inputs that shake the Earth's crust and have plagued seismologists for decades. 

However, with the tighter restrictions on human movement, the same scientists are seeing their field of expertise in an entirely different light thanks to the added clarity and reduction in human "noise".

Streets are empty with the current lockdown recommendations.

The seismic effect of one car, one train, or one jackhammer is minuscule, together they crescendo in a significant din background noise that reduces seismologists ability to detect other signals at the same frequency.

The data available is crystal clear thanks to the quiet which is allowing rare opportunities to observe small earthquakes, volcanic activity, and other deft vibrations often drowned out by mankind's interference.

 The observations first began via Thomas Lecocq (pronounced Leh Cock), a seismologist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium who couldn't contain his load of excitement at the clarity of his findings. 

Lecocq published an article in Nature that outlines approximately 30% decrease in manmade vibrations since Belgium's COVID-19 isolation measures were introduced. This has a direct correlation with the countries closure of schools, restaurants, and non-essential public spaces on the 14th of March with non-essential travel following just four days later.

In Belgium, vibrations caused by human activity have fallen by about one-third since coronavirus containment measures.

The Vibrations In Global Numbers

In the ensuing days, the 30% reduction became 50% in Belgium as nations around the world begun shutting down and following suit. 

Similar data was then echoed around the world...

 Immediately following Lecocq's online posting of data, many seismologists shared their findings from their part of the world including New Zealand, Scotland, New Jersey, England, The United States and France.

Seismic noise data from Guyot Hall Princeton during the reduced noise of Lockdown via Coronavirus

"How does @Princeton 'sound' different now that everyone must #stayathome? Here is the seismic "noise" we record in the basement of Guyot Hall. Campus really is quieter now, especially after the tighter restrictions were put in place." seismologist Jessica Irving tweeted.

Seismic noise reduction during the coronavirus lockdown in Britain

"The #covid19UK lockdown as seen by a seismometer. This week has seen a reduction in average daytime background seismic noise level (purple line). Data is from
@BGSseismology
station SWN1 located close to the M4 motorway, so this probably reflects less traffic out on the roads," said seismologist Stephen Hicks in Britain. 

 

The noise  and vibrations in Los Angeles has dropped significantly since COVID-19.

"Here's daily mode noise power from a station in Los Angeles over the past month; the drop is seriously wild," added Celeste Labedz, a geophysics graduate at the Caltech in Pasadena, California. 

Geoscientists and seismologists concur that COVID-19 lockdown has quited Earth's vibrations

The Takeaway Message:
Stay Home. Follow The Rules. The Entire Earth is. 

What this data means, from the perspective of a seismologist, is that the procedures in place to stop the spread of coronavirus are being adhered to. Entire nations, and in some cases entire continents, are quite like its Christmas. 

This allows an insight into just how seriously entire populations of people are taking the prescribed steps in flattening the coronavirus curve. This is proving instrumental in motivating people to stay home unless leaving is completely necessary. 

The data also allows insight into where lockdown procedures aren't being followed to governing bodies can act accordingly. 

"From the seismological point of view, we can motivate people to say, 'OK look, people. You feel like you're alone at home, but we can tell you that everyone is at home. Everyone is doing the same. Everyone is respecting the rules,'" said a feisty Lecocq. 

As the total number of reported coronavirus cases continues to ascend, with now over 1,268,851 cases and over 60,000 deaths at the time of writing, seismological data dictates that people are listening to health authorities and are staying home.