The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has sent millions of people around the world indoors as they seek to limit their exposure to the highly contagious virus. Those behavioral changes and containment efforts, mandatory in some places, have had a dramatic and sudden effect on the planet, as well.

Seismologists studying planetary movement have reported less ambient seismic noise—the daily rumbles and vibrations of mass human transit—and Belgian scientists have observed the Earth’s crust moving less. Widely shared satellite imagery shows fewer cars on the road in China as a result of lockdown orders, prompting speculation about a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. Satellite measurements of nitrogen dioxide show dramatic decreases of the dangerous gas over China and Italy.

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