A team of researchers has discovered a new type of earthquake, which is quite interesting since can be envisioned as a combination between a hurricane and an earthquake.
The phenomenon has been called stormquake, and it is not as ominous as it sounds. When hurricanes take place they generate large waves on the surface of the sea. These waves will lead to the appearance of a different type of wave at lower depths. The two types of waves can interact with each other, generating a specific pressure force which can impact the seafloor in a mechanic similar to striking metal with a hammer.
Seismometers can detect this activity, but the signals were dismissed in the past as researchers believed that they were seismic noise. The team of researchers discovered that the small earthquakes are caused by the hammering effect, and they can reach a magnitude of 3.5
Due to the low intensity these motions are not felt by humans and have no impact on people, but the discovery is quite significant. Since most natural events are linked it is thought that the stormquakes could affect the environment in a way that has not been documented at this point. They can also have an impact on marine activities, but further research is needed before any definite answers can be offered.
The study took place over nine years, and 14,077 were observed within the timeframe, or almost one thousand each year. Analysis has shown that the number of stormquakes produced by a storm will vary based on a variety of factors, with the location being an essential one.
For example, while Hurricane Sandy caused significant damage on land, it did not generate any stormquakes as it traveled across the surface. On the other hand, Hurricane Bill caused over 300 stormquakes as it moved. Further research will take place in the future as scientists want to learn more about stormquakes.