Mysterious rippling wave shook Earth this month and scientists don't know why

Christopher Davidson
December 1, 2018

They still can't figure out what caused the waves.

As reported by National Geographic, these waves were detected on November 11 by sensors around the world.

The analysis showed that the source signal is the island of Mayotte between Madagascar and the Eastern coast of Africa, but no earthquakes in this region were not recorded.

Seismic waves buzzed sensors from Africa to New Zealand and Hawaii for about 20 minutes, but it seems no humans felt the weird ripple, National Geographic reported. The mysterious seismic waves around Earth reached Hawaii at some 11, 000 miles away.

A Twitter user posted the waveforms, Sparking the interest of other geologists and natural disaster enthusiasts.

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Unlike traditional earthquakes, which produce a jolt of various high frequency waves, the readings from the Mayotte tremor picked up consistent low frequency waves that lasted more than 20 minutes. However, a person monitoring the US Geological Survey's live stream of seismogram noticed the waveform. Since no human felt them, scientists remained baffled, not being able to describe what caused them.

Researchers detected a unusual, long and flat vibration from the area, described as an 'atypical very low frequency signal'.

'I don't think I've seen anything like it, ' Göran Ekström, a seismologist at Columbia University who specialises in unusual earthquakes, told National Geographic. Second, the wave emerged and circled the planet without the usual signs of an natural disaster; no one in the area felt any shaking, and the "p-waves" and "s-waves" associated with the hum, the sort of waves that you actually feel during an quake, were so faint as to be almost undetectable. "It doesn't mean that, in the end, the cause of them is that exotic". Exactly what caused them, however, is a bit of a mystery - although there are some ideas.

"It's like you have colored glasses and [are] just seeing red or something", Anthony Lomax, an independent seismology consultant told National Geographic.

The BRGM says, 'These observations therefore back up the hypothesis of a combination of tectonic and volcanic effects accounting for a geological phenomenon involving a seismic sequence and a volcanic phenomenon.

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