(WSVN) - Hurricane Irma is a powerful category 5 storm, and it’s so strong that it’s showing up on seismometers — equipment designed to measure earthquakes.
USA Today reports the seismometer is on an island in the Caribbean, and is picking up noise as the hurricane gets closer.
“What we’re seeing in the seismogram are low-pitched hums that gradually become stronger as the hurricane gets closer to the seismometer on the island of Guadeloupe,” said Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom.
The noise the equipment is picking up is caused by high winds, which can cause motion on the ground. Trees swaying in the wind also transfers energy into the earth, and waves crashing along the coast line also create seismic energy.
But, Hicks stresses that the storm is not causing actual earthquakes.
“Earthquakes occur tens of (miles) deep inside Earth’s crust, a long way from the influence of weather events, and there is no evidence to suggest that hurricanes and storms directly cause earthquakes,” Hicks told USA Today.
The same thing happened during Hurricane Harvey with seismometers near Houston.
As Irma approaches, Hicks says “we will see a dramatic increase in the amplitude of the seismic recordings.”
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