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November 19, 2019 Tuesday 10:08:43 AM IST

Strong storms can generate quake-like seismic activity

Science Innovations

Researchers have discovered a new geophysical phenomenon where a hurricane or a strong storm can produce vibrations in the nearby ocean floor as strong as an earthquake of  magnitude of 3.5 on Richter scale.

Wenyuan Fan, an assistant professor of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science at Florida State University and lead author of a new study, published inAmerican Geophysical Union’s journal Geophysical Research Letters, termed the new phenomenon as ‘stormquakes’.Certain strong storms transfer energy into the ocean and the waves interact with the solid earth producing intense seismic source activity, according to him.
The researchers analyzed seismic and oceanographic records spanning a decade and found a connection between strong storms and intense seismic activity - vibrations in Earth's crust - near the edge of continental shelves or ocean banks. Not all hurricanes cause stormquakes, but when they do, the stormquakes seem to be concentrated in certain hotspots.The finding points to  new level of understanding of seismic waves.