Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-204
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-204

  14 Dec 2020

14 Dec 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

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

Xyoli Pérez-Campos1, Víctor H. Espíndola1, Daniel González-Ávila1, Betty Zanolli Fabila1, Víctor H. Márquez-Ramírez2, Raphael S. M. De Plaen2, Juan Carlos Montalvo-Arrieta3, and Luis Quintanar1 Xyoli Pérez-Campos et al.
  • 1Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, 04510, Mexico
  • 2Centro de Geociencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Juriquilla, Querétaro, 76230, 04510, Mexico
  • 3Facultad de Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Linares, Nuevo León, 67700, Mexico

Abstract. The world experienced the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic by the end of 2019, beginning of 2020. Governments implemented strategies to contain it, most based on lockdowns. Mexico was not the exception. The lockdown was initiated in March 2020 and with it, a reduction on the seismic noise level was witnessed by the seismic stations of the national and the Valley of Mexico networks. Stations located in municipalities with more than 50,000 people usually experience larger seismic noise levels at frequencies between 1 to 5 Hz, associated with human activity. The largest noise levels are recorded in Mexico City, with 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 reflect, in general, 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 distant quakes.

Xyoli Pérez-Campos et al.

 
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Xyoli Pérez-Campos et al.

Data sets

MX Seismic Network Servicio Sismológico Nacional, Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México https://doi.org/10.21766/SSNMX/SN/MX

Catálogo de sismos Servicio Sismológico Nacional, Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México https://doi.org/10.21766/SSNMX/EC/MX

Xyoli Pérez-Campos et al.

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Short summary
Mexican seismic stations witnessed a reduction in noise level as a result of the lockdown strategies to contain COVID-19. The largest drop was observed in Hermosillo, also the city with the fastest noise level recovery, and a quick increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases. Since June 1, 2020, a traffic-light system modulates the re-opening of economic activities for each state, which is reflected in noise levels. Noise reduction has allowed the identification and perception of smaller earthquakes.