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Researchers discover 'stormquakes', earthquake-like seismic activity generated by storms

ANI | Updated: Oct 17, 2019 21:34 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Oct 17 (ANI): In a new discovery, researchers have found what they have termed 'search?query=search?query=storm">stormquake">search?query=storm">stormquakes' described as new geophysical phenomenon where a search?query=hurricane">hurricane or any other strong search?query=storm">storm can produce vibrations in the nearby search?query=ocean">ocean floor as strong as a magnitude 3.5 search?query=earthquake">earthquake.
"We're calling them 'search?query=search?query=storm">stormquake">search?query=storm">stormquakes,'" said lead author Wenyuan Fan, an assistant professor of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science at Florida State University.
"During a search?query=storm">storm season, search?query=hurricane">hurricanes or nor'easters transfer energy into the search?query=ocean">ocean as strong search?query=ocean">ocean waves, and the waves interact with the solid earth producing intense seismic source activity," Fan added.
The findings were published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Researchers found a connection between strong search?query=storm">storms and intense search?query=seismic activity">seismic activity - vibrations in Earth's crust - near the edge of continental shelves or search?query=ocean">ocean banks after they analysed nearly a decade of seismic and search?query=ocean">oceanographic records from September 2006 to February 2019.
Specifically, they found evidence of more than 10,000 search?query=search?query=storm">stormquake">search?query=storm">stormquakes occurring from 2006 to 2019 offshore of New England, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, as well as offshore of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and British Columbia in Canada.
"We can have seismic sources in the search?query=ocean">ocean just like search?query=earthquake">earthquakes within the crust. The exciting part is seismic sources caused by search?query=hurricane">hurricanes can last from hours to days," Fan explained.
In order to detect and locate seismic events and determine if they qualify as 'search?query=search?query=storm">stormquake">search?query=storm">stormquakes', researchers developed a new method.
They found 2009's Hurricane Bill, which made landfall on Newfoundland on August 22, produced numerous search?query=search?query=storm">stormquake">search?query=storm">stormquakes off the coasts of New England and Nova Scotia.
Similarly, Hurricane Ike in 2008 caused search?query=search?query=storm">stormquake">search?query=storm">stormquake activity in the Gulf of Mexico and Hurricane Irene in 2011 did the same near Little Bahama Bank off the coast of Florida.
Not all search?query=hurricane">hurricanes cause search?query=search?query=storm">stormquake">search?query=storm">stormquakes, but when they do, the search?query=search?query=storm">stormquake">search?query=storm">stormquakes seem to be concentrated in certain hotspots, according to the study's authors.
Stormquakes are strongly influenced by the local search?query=ocean">oceanographic features and seafloor topography, Fan said.
"We weren't even aware of the existence of the natural phenomenon. It really highlights the richness of the seismic wavefield and suggests we are reaching a new level of understanding of seismic waves," he said. (ANI)