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

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1338-1343
Number of pages6
Issue number6509
Early online date23 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2020




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