The effect of confinement due to COVID-19 on seismic noise in Mexico

Pérez-Campos, Xyoli; Espíndola, Víctor H.; González-Ávila, Daniel; Zanolli Fabila, Betty; Márquez-Ramírez, Víctor H.; De Plaen, Raphael S. M.; Montalvo-Arrieta, Juan Carlos; Quintanar, Luis

The world experienced the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic by the end of 2019 to the beginning of 2020. Governments implemented strategies to contain it, most based on lockdowns. Mexico was no exception. The lockdown was initiated in March 2020, and with it, a reduction in the seismic noise level was witnessed by the seismic stations of the national and Valley of Mexico networks. Stations located in municipalities with more than 50 000 people usually experience larger seismic noise levels at frequencies between 1 and 5 Hz, associated with human activity. The largest noise levels are recorded in Mexico City, which has the largest population in the country. The largest drop was observed in Hermosillo, Sonora; however, it was also the city with the fastest return to activities, which seems to correlate with a quick increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases. Mexico initiated a traffic-light system to modulate the re-opening of economic activities for each state. Therefore, since 1 June, noise levels have generally reflected the colour of the state traffic light. Furthermore, the reduction in the noise level at seismic stations has allowed identification of smaller earthquakes without signal processing. Also, people in cities have perceived smaller or more distant quakes.

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Pérez-Campos, Xyoli / Espíndola, Víctor H. / González-Ávila, Daniel / et al: The effect of confinement due to COVID-19 on seismic noise in Mexico. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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