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Tornadoes and Seismicity

  1. Mar 11, 2012 #1

    Dotini

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    I thought this story was a serendipitous twist on quakes and clouds. It gets me to thinking about the coupling of the lithosphere to our atmosphere.

    http://www.ouramazingplanet.com/2583-harrisburg-tornado-seismogram.html
    The deadly storms that struck the Midwest and South last week were so strong that they created seismic waves.

    One of the twisters that struck southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois on Feb. 29 passed through a seismic detection array that includes more than 100 state-of-the-art digital seismographs across the U.S. heartland. While seismographs have been known to detect seismic activity related to tornadoes, it is highly unusual to have the instruments recording information so close to a tornado, the researchers said.

    "In examining the seismograms, we recorded unusual seismic signals on three of our stations in southern Illinois," said Michael Hamburger, a geologist at Indiana University and one of the researchers conducting the experiment. "The seismograms show a strong, low-frequency pulse beginning around 4:45 a.m. [local time] on Feb. 29. Our preliminary interpretation, based on other seismic records of tornadoes, suggests that we were recording not the tornado itself, but a large atmospheric pressure transient related to the large thunderstorms that spawned the tornadoes."


    Respectfully submitted,
    Steve
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2012 #2

    davenn

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    Hey Steve,

    This has been done for some time. Even a number of my USA amateur seismology friends have recorded the vibrations of the ground caused by the nearby passing of tornadoes.
    These's also been extensive professional work done using microphones in arrays to pick up ground noise generated by tornadoes.
    This I recall may have had something to do with trialing an early warning system

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  4. Mar 18, 2012 #3
    On a related note there is also some investigation under way to see if seismic signals from strong ocean storms can be detected. Would be useful for shipping I imagine.
     
  5. Mar 18, 2012 #4

    davenn

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    That has been done for many many years. I can see every cold front/storm system over the ocean several hours hours before it arrives to my local area. The weather system produces a much heavier sea swell that pounds the coastline well ahead of the system arrival.

    Its cool to watch the microseism noise rise in data counts on the seismic system :)

    cheers
    Dave
     
  6. Mar 19, 2012 #5
    That is really cool! I'd only briefly read about it on a university website somewhere and didn't realise it was already widespread practise. Is it possible to measure the position and extent of weather systems using multiple seismometers in different locations?
     
  7. Mar 22, 2012 #6

    davenn

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    It's been done for years as in the observation of impending storms and cold fronts.

    I'm personally not aware as to if anything has ever been done with the data .....
    There ya go ... A MSc thesis in there for someone. :)

    I'm not home for a few more days yet, when I do, will look to see if I have an example seismograph to post for you to see


    Dave
     
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