Seismic sound waves crossing the deep ocean may very well be a brand new thermometer

A seismometer on the atoll of Diego Garcia (left) can calculate ocean temperature with earthquakes near Sumatra (right).

Enlarge / A seismometer on the atoll of Diego Garcia (left) can calculate ocean temperature with earthquakes close to Sumatra (proper). (credit score: Wu et al./Science)

Geophysics has proven that exact measurements and just a little modeling can carry out wonders, like displaying us the detailed construction of the Earth’s inside even if it’s inaccessibly buried beneath lots of of kilometers of rock. That is potential as a result of seismic waves produced by earthquakes subtly change velocity or route as they go via totally different supplies. A brand new paper exhibits that one thing related can really measure small temperature adjustments within the deep ocean.

An thought to make use of acoustic waves from man-made sources was really floated a number of many years in the past however died out after some trials. A crew led by Wenbo Wu on the College of Toronto realized that earthquakes may very well be taken benefit of in the identical manner, eradicating the costly logistics of continually setting off booms to get measurements, in addition to considerations in regards to the results on marine life.

There are literally a number of kinds of seismic waves launched by earthquakes, and every behaves a bit otherwise. The P-wave (P for “main” as a result of it’s the primary to reach) is analogous to a sound wave, because it compresses the rock in the identical route it’s touring. So the place this wave reaches the seafloor or the bottom floor, the rock can behave like an enormous speaker, producing a really low-frequency sound wave within the air or water.

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