It seems like the earth is up to something, and no one can tell what exactly it was. Some sort of “event” originating near an island between Madagascar and Africa, as far as Chile, New Zealand, and Canada was picked up by sensors.
What’s phenomenal is that 11,000 miles away in Hawaii, the “event” was also picked up by sensors.
So, what exactly was it? An earthquake? Some sort of volcanic activity? A nuclear test? A meteorite? Scientists are having a hard time identifying its cause.
Göran Ekström, a seismologist from Columbia University, gave his two cents to National Geographic:
“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it. [However] it doesn’t mean that, in the end, the cause of them is that exotic.”
The “event,” beginning around 15 miles off the shores of Mayotte, on November 11 wasn’t just a short occurrence that popped up and then disappeared instantly; it had sensors ringing for twenty minutes, but without the sensors, we may have never known it happened. Not one single human felt it!
Researchers are identifying it as a “monotone, low-frequency ringing,” but they still haven’t put their fingers on what caused it.
The possibility of an earthquake has altogether been ruled out. What normally happens in an earthquake is a sudden jerk lasting just a few seconds as a result of tension built up between earth’s plates. This occurrence was nothing like that.
The waves following an earthquake’s initial jolt are a sort of “wave train” according to Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton. The “primary waves” move forward quickly in bunches, and the “secondary waves” that follow have more of a side-to-side motion. Both these waves possess a high-pitched frequency which Hicks refers to as “a sort of ping rather than a rumbling.” Finally, surface waves similar to the “event” that recently occurred happen, and these can travel the planet more than once. They “ring Earth like a bell,” as Hicks so eloquently put it.
The problem with the waves coming from Mayotte is that no earthquake happened to trigger them, so scientists are saying it was a monochromatic event, meaning it possessed only one type of wave which repeated itself every seventeen seconds.
However, Mayotte has been plagued with frequent seismic activity over the last year. Since May of 2018, the island has experience hundreds of quakes originating approximately 31 miles offshore, a location just east of the recent “event.”
The French Geological Survey suggests that a “new center of volcanic activity may be developing” off the island’s coast as they’ve been monitoring Mayotte’s seismic activity.
Though it’s been over 4,000 years since the island experience any major volcanic eruptions, the French Geological Survey thinks it’s possible that there could be a new movement of magma offshore.
However, results are still unclear and inconclusive. Researchers continue to look into the “event” and figure out the origin and potential effect of this seismic activity.