From a drop in air pollution to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the global coronavirus pandemic has had some surprising effects on the environment.
Now, a new study has revealed that the outbreak has actually changed the way the Earth physically moves.
Researchers from the Royal Observatory of Belgium have reported a drop in seismic noise – the hum of vibrations in the Earth’s crust.
The team believes that this could be the result of lockdowns across major cities, leading to transport networks and human activities being shut down.
In the study, the researchers used a seismometer to analyse the movement of the Earth.
Their analysis revealed that seismic noise in Brussels has fallen by about one-third since the coronavirus lockdown was introduced.
Thomas Lecocq, who led the study, tweeted: “The current mean noise level is 33% lower than before the #StayHomeBelgium measures.”
Meanwhile, researchers at the California Institute of Technology has observed similar findings in Los Angeles.
Celeste Labedz, who worked on the study, tweeted a graph of activity, writing: “Here’s daily mode noise power from a station in Los Angeles over the past month; the drop is seriously wild.”
The researchers hope this fall in noise could boost the sensitivity of detectors to natural waves.
Mr Lecocq added: “There’s a big chance indeed it could lead to better measurements.”