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- Feb 2020
bad enough on their own. Now imagine them combined. That's kind of what a stormquake is, a phenomenon just discovered by a team of researchers led by Wenyuan Fan, a professor and seismologist at Florida State University. The findings were published Monday in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters.It's not as scary as it sounds, though. Fan broke it down like this. When hurricanes, (or Nor'easters, or winter storms) are in the atmosphere, they produce really large waves on the surface of the sea, which then swell and form other types of waves further down -- that can reach deeper toward the seafloor. The interaction between these secondary waves and the sea floor produces a specific type of pressure force, which then creates a hammer-like effect on the seafloor. That hammering is what is picked up by seismometers. Though previously dismissed as "seismic noise," Fan and his team discovered that the hammering effect is actually small quakes -- which they call "stormquakes" -- that occur around magnitude 3.5. Read MoreThe motions are minor and humans can't really feel them, Fan said. For us, it's not really that significant."I always like to reemphasize that stormquakes happen because of storms, so when extreme storms happen, I think that's our first concern," he told CNN.