Seismologists at Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) have released data illustrating the dramatic decrease in human activity as a result of COVID-19 lockdown measures. The restrictions on people’s movements have reduced noise levels and if you listen you can easily hear summer all around.
Since the lockdown started on the 28th March 2020 some Irish National Seismic Network (INSN) stations detected seismic noise below the noise recorded prior to the lockdown. The network recently confirmed the level of man-made noise in Ireland is up to three times lower than normal.
Worldwide social restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic has affected not only levels of air pollution, but also how much the ground beneath our feet vibrates.
Normally our day-to-day lives result in small ground movements. These ground movement can be caused by many activities and actions, examples include cars, trucks, trains, building sites, farming, recycling, concerts and more. These human-induced vibrations, called seismic noise vary with the level of human activity,” said Dr Martin Möllhoff, Director of Seismic Networks at DIAS.
The INSN as part of there work records and tracks ‘seismic noise (human-made ground vibrations) and ground motions from natural phenomena, such as earthquakes and volcanoes.
It’s important to track noise levels as changes can be annoying or displeasing or may disrupt the balance of human or animal life leading to aggression, hypertension and stress. Not only does the noise distract you, but it can be stressing you and you don’t even realize it. When outside and background noise is minimised or eliminated, the result can be a noticeably positive change in human productivity and behaviour.
Professor Chris Bean, Head of the Geophysics Section and Director of the School of Cosmic Physics at DIAS, said: “Such lowered seismic noise levels can enhance the capability of a seismic network to detect small earthquakes and are a testament to the high levels of compliance with COVID-19 movement restrictions.”
The Geophysics Section in DIAS operates the Irish National Seismic Network (INSN), with support from the Geological Survey Ireland The recent findings released by DIAS mirror findings from seismologists across the world. A press release about the observation was published on the 8th April 2020 can be accessed here:
For more details about the observations you can listen to this interview given by Martin Möllhoff on Tipp FM on the 10th April 2020: You will find the audio here
Further studies and information sources include Cornell University and the Federal Interagency Committee on Aviation Noise – click here
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