FunNature & AnimalThe micro tremors that occur in your city and...

The micro tremors that occur in your city and you do not feel

That human beings generate artificial earthquakes –those that do not cause a natural shaking of the earth’s crust–, generating a seismic footprint, is a fact. And it is mainly industrial activities that cause them, so that as these increase throughout the world, the problem of anthropological earthquakes also grows. This type of artificial earthquake usually has its origin in mining, oil and gas extraction or the accumulation of water in reservoirs and dams. According to the researchers, they originate destructive earthquakes of great magnitude like the one that affected the province of Sichuan (China) in 2008 and that killed 70,000 people – in this case, scientists believe it was triggered by the Zipingpu dam.

But not only industrial activity causes the earth to shake. Although, in the case that concerns us, unlike in the aforementioned, in an imperceptible way for the human being. In March 2017, a seismograph from the Jaume Almera Institute of Earth Sciences (ICTJA), a research center of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), which is located about 500 meters from Camp Nou, captured a small seismic signal that coincided with the celebrations of the spectators of each of the six goals that FC Barcelona scored against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. The celebrations of the fans of the Catalans in each of the goals of his team made the ground vibrate in such a way that the seismometer detected some tiny earthquakes, corresponding to a magnitude 1 on the Richter scale.

Now, a team of ICTJA researchers has just published a study on urban seismology in Scientific Reports that highlights the role that this branch of geophysics can have as a complementary tool to monitor certain human activities, such as the circulation of the subway and traffic. , music concerts, the launching of fireworks or even the celebration of goals during a football match.

Imperceptible to humans

Jordi Díaz, ICTJA-CSIC researcher and first author of the article, considers it interesting “to observe how different the vibrations generated by those attending the Camp Nou are when jumping to celebrate a goal from when dancing during a concert. This analysis can provide, for example, information of interest to engineers on the behavior of buildings ”, he adds in a press release provided by ICTJA. In any case, all these vibrations are imperceptible to the human being.

In recent years, a seismometer from this research center installed in Barcelona has recorded the micro tremors generated by the traffic of Barcelona, the circulation of the metro and even the rock concerts that have been held at the Camp Nou. Thus, in Bruce Springsteen’s last performance in Barcelona, on May 14, 2016, the ICTJA seismometer recorded the vibrations of the ground caused by the rhythmic jumps of the 65,000 spectators who came to see the Boss. Díaz believes that the signal obtained during said concert is “one of the most interesting, since it contains a lot of information. The registers even allow us to distinguish the different songs performed during the concert, since when the rhythm and intensity of the music change, the way the audience makes the ground vibrate also changes ”.

“Current seismometers”, explains Díaz, “are very sensitive devices, and they record all kinds of signals. In the city, human activity produces a large number of detectable vibrations. By treating and analyzing the recorded signal well, we can get to know the activity that originated it, “he concludes.

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