Can seismic data be used for economic analysis? This was the question proposed by the online SEISMONOMIC Morning Talk, an online working meeting organized by the BigNOMICs Project on January 12th in which Jordi Díaz took part as an invited speaker. “If seismic data is used as a proxy to analyze the economic activity, that will be an interdisciplinary example of cooperation among researchers of several fields that can bring benefits for all of them”, says Díaz.

The GEO3BCN-CSIC researcher offered the talk entitled ‘The use of seismic data to monitor anthropogenic activity’ to the members of the Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) of the European Commission. “The main objective of the talk was to explain our experience with the seismic data as a human activity proxy”, explains Díaz.

The researcher, who presented some of the preliminary results obtained by the seismic network deployed by the SANIMS project in Barcelona, divided his speech into two parts. In the first part, Díaz explained “how seismometers work and the several vibration sources that can be registered. I gathered the main sources of vibrations in the urban environment and offered some examples of different types of signals that can be registered such as traffic, helicopters, civil work, sports events, or celebrations”.

“In the second part, I explained how recent lockdown measures have been used to monitor the effects of the lockdown measures taken by the COVID-19 crisis”, he adds.
The data shown by Díaz confirm that the decrease of human activity during the lockdown has led to a reduction in seismic vibrations larger than, for example, that observed during the holiday season.

Afterwards, Luca Tiozzo Pezzoli, researcher of the BigNOMICS Project, offered the talk entitled 'Seismonomics: Listening to the heartbeat of the economy'. Tiozzo summarized the results of a recently published paper that showed that “ human-generated seismic noise provides valuable information about the economic developments of a particular area, offering policymakers a useful tool for monitoring the heartbeat of that economy”.

BigNOMICS is a project within the JRC's Centre for Advanced Studies aiming at exploring novel big data sources to provide better economic forecasting. The project leverages different disciplines, such as artificial intelligence, advanced machine learning, time series analysis, econometrics, and finance.

Further information

Thomas Lecocq, Stephen Hicks, Koen Van Noten, Kasper van Wijk, Paula Koelemeijer, Raphael S.M. De Plaen, Frédérick Massin, Gregor Hillers, Robert E. Anthony, Maria-Theresia Apoloner, Mario Arroyo-Solórzano, Jelle D. Assink, Pinar Büyükakpinar, Andrea Cannata, Flavio Cannavo, Sebastian Carrasco, Corentin Caudron, Esteban J. Chaves, David G. Cornwell, David Craig, Olivier F. C. den Ouden, Jordi Diaz et al. Global quieting of high-frequency seismic noise due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.abd2438

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