With almost the entire known world on protective lockdown or quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists have discovered something amazing. The Earth is “quieter” as there has been a significant reduction in its ambient seismic noise.
Humans, as a race, with their constant activity, whether it be traveling or just gathering around, creates vibrations. These vibrations, in turn, can work to distort any measurements obtained from the finely tuned seismic instruments that researchers use.
Since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, scientists in Belgium have reported a reduction by 30 percent in the overall ambient noise caused by humans on a daily basis in that country.
This means that the readings that are being obtained are just as precise as if the instruments were normally buried 100 meters below the surface of the planet.
It is a given that no human life is worth any amount of newly obtained scientific data. However, if the global lockdowns and quarantines continue, scientists will be able to find new and different changes in the readings their instruments are taking.
What makes this all the more amazing is that with the Earth much quieter, the readings that are being obtained would be very similar to those that may have been received by a 19th Century scientist. With this type of comparison point, the data collected will be even more useful going forward.
Seismology is not the only science feeling the change due to COVID-19. It seems that infrasound, the noise below the frequency at which humans are capable of hearing, has also significantly decreased.
Climate and weather are also seeing a change With everyone staying home, the readings of the amount of air pollution have dropped considerably as well. With fewer people traveling, it would only make sense that air quality would improve as well during this time.