Irma Is So Strong That Earthquake Detectors Are Going Off

Low-pitched hums 'gradually becoming stronger'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2017 1:45 AM CDT
Hurricane Irma, a potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane, moves westward, Tuesday morning, Sept. 5, 2017, in the Atlantic Ocean toward the Leeward Islands.   (NOAA via AP)
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(Newser) – Hurricane Irma is now the fiercest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded—and it is so powerful that it is setting off devices designed to measure earthquakes. British seismologist Stephen Hicks says the Category 5 storm has been registering on a Caribbean seismometer for some time. "What we're seeing in the seismogram are low-pitched hums that gradually become stronger as the hurricane gets closer to the seismometer on the island of Guadeloupe," he tells USA Today. He says the readings are caused by the storm transferring energy into the ground through the high winds, swaying of trees, and crashing of waves into the coastline. (Scientists aren't sure whether it is possible for storms to get much stronger than Irma.)

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