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

Rob WaughContributor
Ngouja, Mayotte (Getty)
Ngouja, Mayotte (Getty)

On November 11, earthquake sensors around the world picked up something very, very strange – a rippling seismic signal seeming to originate in the Indian Ocean.

Seismologist Göran Ekström from Columbia University told National Geographic ‘I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it.’

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Researchers believe it’s linked to a previous ‘swarm’ of earthquakes off the coast of the archipelago of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean.

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

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The signal repeated every 17 seconds, lasting for about 20 minutes.

Nicolas Taillefer, head of Bureau de Recherches Géologiques (BRGM) seismic and volcanic risk unit, said, ‘There are a lot things we don’t know. It’s something quite new in the signals on our stations.’

The researchers think it may be related to a huge movement of magma under the Indian Ocean, and say that the islands of Mayotte have actually moved 2.4 inches.

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.

‘This hypothesis will need to be confirmed by future scientific studies.’

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