Scientists have discovered stormquakes, where earthquakes and hurricanes collide

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 19, 2019

NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Irene, located about 400 miles southeast of Nassau.

Scientists have discovered a mash-up of two disasters hurricanes and earthquakes, and they're calling them "stormquakes".

Now, before you start preparing for the end of days or the day after tomorrow, it's important to note that no sharks have been discovered funneling as of yet, and the stormquakes don't seem to rumble more than that of a magnitude 3.5 quake.

In fact, the joint study - by scientists from the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science; U.S. Geological Survey, Earthquake Science Center; Department of Geology and Geophysics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; and Scripps Institution of Oceanography - says that stormquakes are actually a fairly common occurrence, but they just sounded like seismic background noise and went undetected.

A stormquake is more an oddity than something unsafe, because no one is standing on the seafloor during a hurricane, said Wenyuan Fan, the Florida State University seismologist who led the study.

The combination of two frightening natural phenomena might bring to mind 'Sharknado, ' but stormquakes are real and not unsafe. "This is the last thing you need to worry about", lead author, seismologist Wenyuan Fan, told AP.

Storms trigger giant waves in the sea, which cause another type of wave. These waves then interact with the seafloor, however, only in locations, and that causes the shaking, Fan said.

This reportedly only happens in places in which there are a large continental shelf and shallow flat land.

Fan's team found 14,077 stormquakes between September 2006 and February 2015 in the Gulf of Mexico and off Florida, New England, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador and British Columbia. A special type of military sensor is needed to detect them, Fan said.

The shaking is a sort that creates a wave that seismologists do not usually search for monitoring earthquakes, so that's why these have unnoticed till now, Fan mentioned.

The study makes sense, said Lucia Gualtieri, a seismologist at Stanford University who wasn't involved in the work.

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