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SYFY WIRE Earthquake

Scientists have discovered stormquakes, where earthquakes and hurricanes collide

By Adam Pockross

No, Roland Emmerich or Ian Ziering didn’t write this one, but a study has just been released that professes to the discovery of “stormquakes,” a phenomenon that can occur when earthquakes and hurricanes collide.

Now, before you start preparing for the end of days or the day after tomorrow, it’s important to note that no sharks have been discovered funneling as of yet, and the stormquakes don’t seem to rumble more than that of a magnitude 3.5 earthquake. But according to a study published in this week’s Geophysical Research Letters, during hurricanes and nor’easters, sea floor shaking can occur for days at a time.

In fact, the joint study —  by scientists from the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science; U.S. Geological Survey, Earthquake Science Center; Department of Geology and Geophysics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; and Scripps Institution of Oceanography — says that stormquakes are actually a fairly common occurrence, but they just sounded like seismic background noise and went undetected.

But when scientists started looking in areas with “large continental shelves, ocean banks, and strong storms,” they discovered that a storm’s giant waves caused another type of wave, "coherent transcontinental surface wavefields,” aka shaking, that are “effective point sources with equivalent earthquake magnitudes that can be greater than 3.5.”

Using a military-grade sensor necessary for detection, the team found 14,077 stormquakes between September 2006 and February 2015 from the Gulf of Mexico to Newfoundland.

Now that we know of the existence of stormquakes, there’s still no reason to worry about it, though, unless you’re going to be spending a lot of time on the ocean floor during a hurricane. “This is the last thing you need to worry about,” lead author, seismologist Wenyuan Fan, told AP.
No mention as to where Sharknados fall on the list of things to worry about.