Diaz, J., Ruiz, M., and Jara, J.-A. Seismic monitoring of urban activity in Barcelona during COVID-19 lockdown, Solid Earth Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-190, in review, 2020.
The city of Barcelona has been covered during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown by a dense seismic network consisting of up to 19 seismic sensors. This network has provided an excellent tool to investigate in detail the background seismic noise variations associated to the lockdown measures. Permanent stations facilitate to compare the seismic noise recorded during the lockdown quieting with long-term variations due to holiday periods. On the other hand, the data acquired by the dense network show the differences between sites located near industrial areas, transportation hubs or residential areas. The results confirm that the quieting of human activity during lockdown has resulted in a reduction of seismic vibrations in the 2–20 Hz band clearly higher than during holiday seasons. This effect is observed throughout the city, but only those stations not affected by very proximal sources of vibration (construction sites, industries) are clearly correlated with the level of activity denoted by other indicators. Our contribution demonstrates that seismic amplitude variations can be used as a proxy for human activity in urban environments, providing details similar to those offered by other mobility indicators.