June 16, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Science And Technology

Seismic snow: the poetry of science

Below the ground of Noto –
tensions increase
where pressures boil,
a rapid pulse
in the tranquility,
the clamor
of swarms
invisible.
Seismic wave graph
maps of
trembling stress –
progressive,
crawling,
crashing
before the tide.
The grip of the season
tighten broken layers,
every snowfall
pressing deeper –
a blank load
suffocating silence,
pushing the ground
and urging his release.
The touch of winter
a sudden shudder,
a rapid pulse
in the tranquility,
the clamor
of swarms
invisible.

This poem is inspired by recent researchwhich has discovered that heavy snowfall and rain can contribute to some earthquakes.

Japan's Noto Peninsula is currently experiencing an unusual increase in seismic activity, with events occurring at a rate ten times higher than the regional average. Understanding the causes of these seismic swarms is challenging, as their underlying mechanisms are still unclear. Over the past decade, effort has been focused on studying the changes that occur beneath the Earth's surface, especially the changes in stresses that cause earthquakes.

This research has focused on observing how seismic waves travel through the Earth over a period of 11 years to track changes in underground stress. Interestingly, the speed at which these waves travel increases over time, but tends to decrease just before an earthquake swarm occurs. This pattern is influenced by seasonal changes, suggesting an environmental impact on underground pressures. The researchers used a sophisticated three-dimensional model to explore how these pressures build up and how they are affected by external factors such as heavy snowfall. It appears that these snowfalls significantly increase stress on the Earth's crust, which could trigger these swarms. The findings of this study are important because they help us understand the link between environmental changes and seismic activity, which could improve predictions and safety measures for regions prone to seismic activity.

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