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Seismic noise recorded by telecommunication fiber optics reveal the impact of COVID-19 measures on human activities
  • Junzhu Shen,
  • Tieyuan Zhu
Junzhu Shen
The Pennsylvania State University, The Pennsylvania State University
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Tieyuan Zhu
Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania State University

Corresponding Author:tyzhu@psu.edu

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Quantifying the response of human activities to different COVID-19 measures may serve as a potential way to evaluate the effectiveness of the measures and optimize measures. Recent studies reported that seismic noise reduction caused by less human activities due to COVID-19 lockdown had been observed by seismometers. However, it is difficult for current seismic infrastructure in urban cities to characterize spatiotemporal seismic noise during the post-COVID-19 lockdown because of sparse distribution. Here we show key connections between progressive COVID-19 measures and spatiotemporal seismic noise changes recorded by a distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) array deployed in State College, PA. We first show spatiotemporal seismic noise reduction (up to 90%) corresponding to the reduced human activities in different city blocks during the period of stay-at-home. We also show partial noise recovery corresponding to increased road traffics and machines in Phase Yellow/Green. It is interesting to note that non-recovery seismic noise in 0.01-10 Hz suggests the low level of pedestrian movement in Phase Yellow/Green. Despite of a linear correlation between mobility change and seismic noise change, we emphasize that DAS recordings using city-wide fiber optics could provide a way for quantifying the impact of COVID-19 measures on human activities in city blocks.