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Weather Bombs

August 29, 2016

Storm-induced seismic waves may help scientists see Earth’s interior.

Transcript

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BOB HIRSHON (host):

Storms illuminate earth’s interior. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Severe storms over the ocean churn up the water so violently, that they create seismic waves on the sea floor. Seismologists refer to these storms as “weather bombs,” and in the journal Science, researchers in Japan report that a weather bomb in the North Atlantic generated seismic waves so powerful they detected them in on the other side of the planet. UC San Diego geophysicist Peter Gerstoft says the waves could be used the way doctors use x-rays.

PETER GERSTOFT (UC San Diego):

These are so powerful that they create waves that we can use for observing things in the interior of the earth.   

HIRSHON:

If the findings are replicated by others, Gerstoft says eventually, researchers all over the world could analyze seismic waves from violent storms, and use them to explore the hidden details of Earth’s internal structure. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon