Scientists Detect A Rare, Deep-Earth Tremor Caused By Atlantic ‘Weather Bomb'

Posted: Aug 26 2016, 10:43pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Scientists Detect a Rare, Deep-Earth Tremor Caused by Atlantic ‘Weather Bomb'
Credit: Kiwamu Nishida and Ryota Takagi

Explosive storms or weather bombs can reveal Earth's innermost secrets and can also improve detection of earthquakes and oceanic storms

Powerful, violent storms known as “weather bombs” can trigger tremors or faint waves deep inside the Earth. And one of such rare, deep-earth tremors has recently been detected by scientists in Japan. 

Weather bombs are explosive cyclones characterized by low pressure system with a central pressure that drops 24 millibars in a 24-hour period and lead to extremely heavy rainfall or snow. The strong winds produced by these storms can also cause oceans to swell and generate faint waves deep inside the Earth. Measuring these waves can help experts understand more about Earth’s interior and can also allow them to make more accurate predations about earthquakes and oceanic storms. 

Using a network of seismic sensors, researchers in Japan have detected a rare tremor triggered by a powerful storm over North Atlantic Ocean and this marks the first time this deep-earth tremor has been detected by the seismologists.

Faint tremors known as microseisms are detectable anywhere in the world, because they move within the Earth’s inner structure and are detectable using any distant seismic station. 

However, detecting this particular type of tremor called S wave microseism is generally quite difficult because it travels much slowly and moves only through rocks. 

Scientists have previously detected only one type of microseism known as P waves. P waves or primary waves are fast moving microseisms which are detected just before the earthquake hits. These waves typically travel in straight lines and are the first waves from an earthquake to arrive at a seismograph but they provide only a narrow view of Earth’s structure. The elusive S waves, on the other hand, penetrate deep inside the Earth. . So, they can provide more clues about Earth’s inner structure and composition.

“Seismic tomography is like an X-ray of Earth’s interior except that it uses earthquakes for the illumination.” Study reads.

“Using a seismic array in Japan, we observed both P and S wave microseisms excited by a severe distant storm in the Atlantic Ocean…The precise source location may provide a new catalog for exploring Earth’s interior.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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