Like an earthquake in space, so-called spacequakes are temblors in Earth's magnetic field caused by plasma flying off the sun that could help generate the colorful auroras that dance high in Earth's atmosphere, a new study suggests.
Aurora (from Christian Science Monitor)
"Magnetic reverberations have been detected at ground stations all around the globe, much like seismic detectors measure a large earthquake," said Vassilis Angelopoulos of UCLA.
And these rumbles can pack a punch. "The total energy in a spacequake can rival that of a magnitude 5 or 6 earthquake," according to Evgeny Panov of the Space Research Institute in Austria. Panov is first author of a paper reporting the results of a study on spacequakes in the April 2010 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.
|Energies of earthquakes and other phenomena (from USGS)|
I like it when different physical phenomena inter-relate! Especially this one, that crosses over from my major specialty within geophysics, which is actually not earthquakes/seismology but geomagnetism. So wholistic!