There has been a dramatic fall in the noise generated by human activity in Ireland as a result of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown measures.

So-called 'seismic noise’ levels are up to three times lower now, according to measurements taken by the Geophysics section of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS).

Scientists at DIAS describe seismic noise as human-made volcanoes.

Dr Martin Mollhoff, director of Seismic Networks at DIAS, said: "Our day-to-day lives result in small ground movements – for example, by cars, trains, building sites and other industries. These human-induced vibrations, called seismic noise by seismologists, vary with the human activity."

He says the worldwide social restrictions are affecting not only levels of air pollution, but also how much the ground beneath our feet vibrates. 

"With the current Covid-19 restrictions on human movement, seismic noise levels have been markedly reduced.

"In Ireland, seismic noise levels are now up to three times lower than they were before the restrictions were introduced."

Professor Chris Bean, head of Geophysics and director of the School of Cosmic Physics at DIAS, said the dramatically lower seismic noise levels were testament to the high levels of compliance with Covid-19 movement restrictions.

The findings released by DIAS mirror findings from seismologists across the world, who have been tracking how Covid-19 restrictions have impacted on levels of seismic noise.