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Global quieting of high-frequency seismic noise due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures

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Science  11 Sep 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6509, pp. 1338-1343
DOI: 10.1126/science.abd2438

The great seismic quiet period

Noise from trains, airplanes, industrial processes, and other sources is recorded on seismometers worldwide. Disentangling this noise is important for extracting out natural signals, but the noise can also roughly track population movements. Lecocq et al. compiled seismic observations around the world and found a substantial decrease in noise resulting from lockdown measures imposed in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic (see the Perspective by Denolle and Nissen-Meyer). These observations tightly correspond to when the measures went into effect and offer a way to track aggregate behavior. This quiet period also offers the chance to extract anthropogenic sources of noise from those of natural processes.

Science, this issue p. 1338; see also p. 1299

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