The global measures of containment to combat the spread of coronavirus have apparently made the world much more peaceful. Are noticing also scientists. Roads in the city clogged with traffic until a few weeks ago are now empty, on the highways, the circulation is reduced to the minimum necessary, and also trains and metros have significantly reduced their operations.
In this time of social hardship, there is, however, an unlikely beneficiary of the pandemic: our planet. Not only the air pollution is coming down to levels never recorded in recent times, as also detected in China where it significantly decreased the concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), but the seismologists also detected a sharp decrease of the seismic noise environment, i.e. the vibrations generated by cars, trains, buses and people moving in everyday life. In the absence of this noise, even the upper crust of the Earth is moving a little less.
According to Thomas Lecocq geologist and seismologist at the Royal Observatory in Belgium, in mid-march, there was a reduction from 30 to about 50% of the seismic noise environment, at the time of the period in which the Country has started to implement the so-called “lockdown”, with closures of schools, business and other social distancing measures. Less noise means that the seismologists can detect small earthquakes and other seismic events that some seismic stations would not be able to register.
However, the seismologists say that the noise reduction is, however, something that should make us reflect on the danger of a virus that so far has affected more than a million people, it has killed tens of thousands and has stopped the normal rhythms of life. This reduction also means that the people are respecting the rules of block tax authority as a measure of restraint. The data, on the contrary, can also be used to identify where the control measures are not equally effective.