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

Lecocq, Thomas and Hicks, Stephen P. and Van Noten, Koen and van Wijk, Kasper and Koelemeijer, Paula and De Plaen, Raphael S. M. and Massin, Frédérick and Hillers, Gregor and Anthony, Robert E. and Apoloner, Maria-Theresia and Arroyo-Solórzano, Mario and Assink, Jelle D. and Büyükakpınar, Pinar and Cannata, Andrea and Cannavo, Flavio and Carrasco, Sebastian and Caudron, Corentin and Chaves, Esteban J. and Cornwell, David G. and Craig, David and den Ouden, Olivier F. C. and Diaz, Jordi and Donner, Stefanie and Evangelidis, Christos P. and Evers, Läslo and Fauville, Benoit and Fernandez, Gonzalo A. and Giannopoulos, Dimitrios and Gibbons, Steven J. and Girona, Társilo and Grecu, Bogdan and Grunberg, Marc and Hetényi, György and Horleston, Anna and Inza, Adolfo and Irving, Jessica C. E. and Jamalreyhani, Mohammadreza and Kafka, Alan and Koymans, Mathijs R. and Labedz, Celeste R. and Larose, Eric and Lindsey, Nathaniel J. and McKinnon, Mika and Megies, Tobias and Miller, Meghan S. and Minarik, William and Moresi, Louis and Márquez-Ramírez, Víctor H. and Möllhoff, Martin and Nesbitt, Ian M. and Niyogi, Shankho and Ojeda, Javier and Oth, Adrien and Proud, Simon and Pulli, Jay and Retailleau, Lise and Rintamäki, Annukka E. and Satriano, Claudio and Savage, Martha K. and Shani-Kadmiel, Shahar and Sleeman, Reinoud and Sokos, Efthimios and Stammler, Klaus and Stott, Alexander E. and Subedi, Shiba and Sørensen, Mathilde B. and Taira, Taka'aki and Tapia, Mar and Turhan, Fatih and van der Pluijm, Ben and Vanstone, Mark and Vergne, Jerome and Vuorinen, Tommi A. T. and Warren, Tristram and Wassermann, Joachim and Xiao, Han (2020) Global quieting of high-frequency seismic noise due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures. Science, 369 (6509). pp. 1338-1343. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.abd2438.

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Human activity causes vibrations that propagate into the ground as high-frequency seismic waves. Measures to mitigate the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused widespread changes in human activity, leading to a months-long reduction in seismic noise of up to 50%. The 2020 seismic noise quiet period is the longest and most prominent global anthropogenic seismic noise reduction on record. Although the reduction is strongest at surface seismometers in populated areas, this seismic quiescence extends for many kilometers radially and hundreds of meters in depth. This quiet period provides an opportunity to detect subtle signals from subsurface seismic sources that would have been concealed in noisier times and to benchmark sources of anthropogenic noise. A strong correlation between seismic noise and independent measurements of human mobility suggests that seismology provides an absolute, real-time estimate of human activities.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Materials ItemCode
Lecocq, Thomas0000-0002-4988-6477
Hicks, Stephen P.0000-0002-7476-3284
Van Noten, Koen0000-0001-8933-4426
van Wijk, Kasper0000-0003-4994-8030
De Plaen, Raphael S. M.0000-0003-3477-2001
Massin, Frédérick0000-0002-7532-5139
Hillers, Gregor0000-0003-2341-1892
Apoloner, Maria-Theresia0000-0002-4006-1284
Arroyo-Solórzano, Mario0000-0002-1653-2680
Assink, Jelle D.0000-0002-4990-6845
Büyükakpınar, Pinar0000-0001-8461-674X
Cannata, Andrea0000-0002-0028-5822
Cannavo, Flavio0000-0001-7550-8579
Carrasco, Sebastian0000-0002-6207-8757
Caudron, Corentin0000-0002-3748-0007
Chaves, Esteban J.0000-0002-5724-1513
Cornwell, David G.0000-0002-9843-7811
Craig, David0000-0001-9414-1725
Diaz, Jordi0000-0003-1801-0541
Donner, Stefanie0000-0001-7351-8079
Evangelidis, Christos P.0000-0001-8733-8984
Evers, Läslo0000-0003-2825-6211
Fernandez, Gonzalo A.0000-0001-8284-9566
Giannopoulos, Dimitrios0000-0002-8314-0759
Gibbons, Steven J.0000-0002-7822-0244
Girona, Társilo0000-0001-6422-0422
Grecu, Bogdan0000-0002-7662-996X
Grunberg, Marc0000-0002-1307-7790
Hetényi, György0000-0001-9036-4761
Horleston, Anna0000-0002-6748-6522
Inza, Adolfo0000-0001-5381-9042
Irving, Jessica C. E.0000-0002-0866-8246
Jamalreyhani, Mohammadreza0000-0003-4181-7175
Kafka, Alan0000-0001-6643-1602
Labedz, Celeste R.0000-0001-7339-2170
Lindsey, Nathaniel J.0000-0001-9522-6683
McKinnon, Mika0000-0002-9274-0377
Megies, Tobias0000-0002-5033-9921
Miller, Meghan S.0000-0001-5494-2296
Minarik, William0000-0001-5509-5543
Moresi, Louis0000-0003-3685-174X
Márquez-Ramírez, Víctor H.0000-0003-1494-2229
Möllhoff, Martin0000-0003-1848-1554
Nesbitt, Ian M.0000-0001-5828-6070
Niyogi, Shankho0000-0002-8362-4569
Ojeda, Javier0000-0002-7188-8356
Oth, Adrien0000-0003-4859-6504
Proud, Simon0000-0003-3880-6774
Retailleau, Lise0000-0002-0711-4540
Satriano, Claudio0000-0002-3039-2530
Savage, Martha K.0000-0002-2080-0676
Shani-Kadmiel, Shahar0000-0003-2215-6164
Sleeman, Reinoud0000-0002-1928-5056
Sokos, Efthimios0000-0002-7742-7251
Stott, Alexander E.0000-0001-6121-705X
Subedi, Shiba0000-0002-7009-7333
Sørensen, Mathilde B.0000-0002-8589-7480
Taira, Taka'aki0000-0002-6170-797X
Turhan, Fatih0000-0003-4612-7421
van der Pluijm, Ben0000-0001-7737-2791
Vanstone, Mark0000-0002-4836-6154
Vergne, Jerome0000-0003-1731-9360
Vuorinen, Tommi A. T.0000-0002-8186-012X
Warren, Tristram0000-0003-3877-0046
Wassermann, Joachim0000-0002-4088-1792
Xiao, Han0000-0001-8727-8053
Additional Information:© 2020 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 10 June 2020; accepted 14 July 2020. Published online 23 July 2020. We sincerely thank two anonymous reviewers, T. Nissen-Meyer, and J. Slate for their comments, which have improved the manuscript. We are extremely grateful to all seismic network managers, operators, and technicians who have helped facilitate the raw global seismic dataset (24). We also kindly acknowledge all of the passionate community seismologists for running their “home” seismometers and contributing, indirectly, to a better understanding of Earth. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. government. We dedicate this community-led study to all essential workers who have kept our countries going during these difficult times. P.K. was funded by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (URF\R1\180377). P.B. and M.J. acknowledge support from the International Training Course “Seismology and Seismic Hazard Assessment” funded by the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ) and the German Federal Foreign Office through the German Humanitarian Assistance program (grant S08-60 321.50 ALL 03/19). P.B. also acknowledges financial support from the Boğaziçi University Research Fund (BAP 15683). O.F.C.d.O acknowledges funding from a Young Investigator Grant from the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP project RGY0072/2017). C.P.E. and E.S. acknowledge funding from the HELPOS Project “Hellenic Plate Observing System” (MIS 5002697). L.E. and S.S.-K. acknowledge funding from a VIDI project from the Dutch Research Council (NWO project 864.14.005). G.A.F. acknowledges contributions from the Observatorio San Calixto, which is supported by the Air Force Technical Application Center (AFTAC). C.R.L. acknowledges funding from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (grant DGE‐1745301). V.-H.M. and R.D.P. acknowledge support from grant CONACYT-299766. R.D.P. acknowledges support from the UNAM-DGAPA postdoctoral scholarship. J.O. acknowledges support from the Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo (Scholarship ANID-PFCHA/Doctorado Nacional/2020-21200903). S.P. acknowledges financial support from the Natural Environment Research Council (NE/R013144/1). A.E.R. acknowledges support from the K.H. Renlund foundation. M.K.S. acknowledges the New Zealand Earthquake Commission (EQC project 20796). H.X. acknowledges support from a Multidisciplinary Research on the Coronavirus and its Impacts (MRCI) grant from UC Santa Barbara. The Australian Seismometers in Schools data used in this research are supported by AuScope, enabled by the Australian Commonwealth NCRIS program. A.O. acknowledges support from the project RESIST, funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy (contract SR/00/305) and the Luxembourg National Research Fund. Author contributions: T.L. designed and led the research. T.L., S.P.H., K.V.N., K.v.W., P.K., and R.S.M.D.P. processed and visualized the data and drafted the manuscript. F.M. contributed to the software development and provided the supplementary movie. G.H. thoroughly edited and reviewed the manuscript. All authors processed seismic data, took part in discussions, and performed a full interactive review of the original and revised manuscripts. The authors declare no competing interests. Data and materials availability: The raw data used to compute the hiFSAN were obtained from different networks and data providers (24). The computed data and codes used to analyze and plot Figs. 1 to 4 are available from the companion repository: and (40).
Group:Seismological Laboratory, COVID-19
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Royal SocietyURF\R1\180377
GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ)S08-60 321.50 ALL 03/19
Federal Foreign Office (Germany)UNSPECIFIED
Boğaziçi UniversityBAP 15683
Human Frontier Science ProgramRGY0072/2017
HELPOS ProjectMIS 5002697
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)864.14.005
Observatorio San CalixtoUNSPECIFIED
Air Force Technical Application Center (AFTAC)UNSPECIFIED
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE‐1745301
Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT)299766
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)UNSPECIFIED
Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo2020-21200903
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/R013144/1
K. H. Renlund FoundationUNSPECIFIED
New Zealand Earthquake Commission20796
University of California, Santa BarbaraUNSPECIFIED
Commonwealth of AustraliaUNSPECIFIED
Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO)SR/00/305
Luxembourg National Research FundUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6509
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200727-071931607
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Global quieting of high-frequency seismic noise due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures. Thomas Lecocq, et. al., Science 11 Sep 2020: 1338-1343; doi: 10.1126/science.abd2438
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104578
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 Jul 2020 14:58
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:33

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