Scientists in Japan noticed something strange on their seismometers recently.
They’re called weather bombs, and according to a new study, they’ve just revealed some of the deepest secrets of the Earth — literally. A weather bomb on the other side of the planet jut off the coast of Greenland has been linked to a series of tremors picked up by seisometers in Japan.
A storm system had stopped over the North Atlantic, resulting in a sudden drop in atmospheric pressure — a weather bomb. This causes pressure waves to reverberate between the ocean surface and ocean floor, which are then absorbed in the bedrock and rippled all the way to Japan, according to a American Association for the Advancement of Science statement.
While scientists have recorded seismic waves by large storms over the ocean before, usually they detect fast-moving compression waves called P-waves, but Japan’s seismometers also detected S-waves. S-waves are side-to-side vibrations perpendicular to their direction of travel, moving more slowly through rock.
Why is this a big deal? It could help scientists study the interior structure of the Earth by watching the seismic waves from future storms.