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They are called earthquakes (the union of storm and earthquake) and are a phenomenon that occurs when a large ocean storm (hurricanes) causes waves so strong that they produce intense seismic activity. What does this mean? That also hurricanes can affect the bottom of the ocean equivalent to an earthquake of magnitude 3.5 on the Ritcher scale. The result was published in Geophysical Research Letters by a group of researchers from the United States.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers studied more than 10,000 records of seismic events occurred between 2006 and 2019 in coastal areas of the United States and Canada. “Large storms, such as hurricanes and extratropical cyclones, transfer energy to the ocean in the form of strong waves that interact with solid earth producing intense seismic activity,” said Wenyuan Fan, professor and lead author at Florida State University. of this study
These seismic events caused by hurricanes can last between hours and several days and can be as strong as a 3.5 earthquake. But after all, what happens? When a hurricane or other storm occurs, its intense energy can cause giant waves in the ocean, which subsequently cause another type of secondary wave. These waves, when they interact with solid earth at the bottom of the sea, cause “intense activity of seismic source.”
This type of phenomenon, the researchers add in the study summary, “can provide useful information to investigate the structure of the earth and the dynamics of ocean waves.” The discovery, says National Geographic, was “unexpected” and by accident, like many scientific advances. Although earthquakes and earthquakes are quite common, many of those that occur at sea were almost ignored because they were considered “background noise.”
However, not all hurricanes and storms necessarily cause seismic activity. This phenomenon occurs in places where there is a large continental shelf and flat terrain. According to the BBC, Hurricane Sandy, for example, killed more than 200 people, but did not result in any seismic activity. That is, these earthquakes are also influenced by specific ocean conditions, Wenyuan Fan explained.
An example of a storm The investigator cited Hurricane Bill, which occurred in the Atlantic Ocean on August 15, 2009, entering the New England coast as a Category 1 hurricane (after being in Category 4 in Newfoundland). Upon arrival, several seismic events were recorded on the high seas that resulted in the production of strong waves.
With such phenomena, however, the damage is unlikely, since the probability that a person is at the bottom of the sea during a hurricane is minimal. “It’s the last thing to worry about,” the researcher told the Associated Press.