What Caused a Mysterious Seismic Wave to Wash Over Our Whole Planet?

Back on Nov. 11, seismographs from around the world registered a mysterious tremor that encompassed the planet. As of right now, scientists still don’t know what caused it, reports National Geographic.

It’s not just the source of the rumble that remains mysterious, it’s also the form of the wave, which was characterized as a monotone, low-frequency “ring,” and which was registered by instruments but felt by no one. . . .

The biggest clue we have so far is an ongoing seismic swarm that has been occurring just offshore from the archipelago of Mayotte, which sits about halfway between Africa and Madagascar. The Nov. 11 wave looks to have originated from around there. The only problem is, the Mayotte seismic swarm is also something of a mystery.

The swarm is composed of hundreds of tremors that began around May 10th and have yet to disappear. While they are numerous, they aren’t particularly large events; the largest quake of the bunch came in at a 5.8 magnitude. It’s not exactly something you might expect to cause a seismic wave that’s measured around the world. It’s worth noting, however, that the 5.8 quake was the largest ever recorded in the region. . .

One thing we know is that tectonic activity alone probably can’t account for the wave; it probably came from some combination of tectonic and volcanic processes, and possibly other deep Earth processes. It also might be that a new center of volcanic activity is developing off the Mayotte coast, a shift in a nearby magma reservoir, which would make these events a fascinating opportunity for research. (Read more from “What Caused a Mysterious Seismic Wave to Wash Over Our Whole Planet?” HERE)

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