Powerful Storms Often Result in Stormquakes at the Seafloor, Scientists Say

by Ernest Thomas
Powerful Storms Often Result in Stormquakes at the Seafloor, Scientists Say

A natural disaster like flood, hurricane, volcano eruption or tsunami, unpredictable and extremely dangerous. But have you ever thought how could be the combination of earthquake and hurricane? That’s what a stormquake is. A team of scientists from Florida State University has recently discovered the phenomenon. Prof. Wenyuan Fan, a seismologist at Florida State University, has led the research. The team has published its findings in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters on Monday. Well, stormquake is not as dangerous as it sounds. Researchers have discovered a new seismic event where giant storms and hurricanes shake the ocean floor equaling a range 3.5 earthquake.

Prof. Fan has explained the phenomenon by saying that when hurricanes are in the atmosphere, they create huge waves on the ocean’s surface, which later increases. It leads to the formation of other types of waves down-further, that can spread more deep toward the seafloor. When these secondary waves hit the seabed, it generates a particular kind of pressure force. In other words, the waves eventually cause a hammer-like impact on the ocean floor. Those are the vibrations; the seismometers have traced. Before this, researchers had neglected them as seismic noise. But Prof. Fan and the team have discovered that the hammering effects are small quakes in reality. They call it as stormquake.

The research has focused on the time between 2006-2015. During the time frame, the team has discovered more than 214,000 stormquakes. It means more than a thousand stormquakes take place every year. As per the leading author, the waves are negligible, and humans cannot feel them. Prof. Fan noted that it seems not that important to us. But wave’s minority does not make the discovery unimportant. Prof. Fan said everything around us is closely connected, and these stormquakes can affect nature. He noted they have not yet studied the outcomes from that aspect. He said the events could have a massive impact on oceanic activities. In the end, the researchers note despite terrifying combination, stormquake is not dangerous because it happens at the seafloor.

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