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Coronavirus Lockdowns Across the World Have Made Earth Vibrate Less

According to seismologists.
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The coronavirus outbreak has spread a lot of fake environmental news on the web. Are elephants in China getting drunk in a corn wine field? Nope, not true. The dolphins in Venice's canals? It was filmed pre-coronavirus. Hell, even the canal's water isn't "cleaner," it just looks that way because of decreased boat activity.

What is true, however, is that the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have caused the earth's crust to stop shaking. Yep, you read that right: There's been a drop in seismic activity because of less man-made noise.

"A noise reduction of this magnitude is usually only experienced briefly around Christmas," says Royal Observatory of Belgium seismologist Thomas Lecocq. Brussels is where the drop has been observed, and according to Lecocq, it's getting quiet right now.

Researchers say the drop in seismic noise can be attributed to transport networks and other human activities being stopped. The drop will allow seismologists to spot smaller earthquakes, which might lead to better measurements. Seismic activity has also decreased in cities such as New Zealand's Auckland, Scotland's Aberdeen, England's Twickenham, and more.

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Noise pollution is the environmental problem we rarely hear about. In fact, music festivals have been shown to alter animal behaviors as they avoid such areas—thereby disrupting an ecosystem. Just guess how much impact power plants, factories, trains, highways, and more have on the planet.

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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