Seismic shivers tell of tornado touchdown | Science News

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Seismic shivers tell of tornado touchdown

4:20pm, February 5, 2001

For years, people unfortunate enough to have been standing close to where a tornado touched down have reported feeling rumbles beneath them.

Now, researchers say they can use earthquake-detecting seismometers to detect and possibly track all but the weakest tornadoes. They report their analysis in the January/February Seismological Research Letters.

Currently, meteorologists use so-called Doppler radar to detect funnel clouds. That system reflects microwaves off particles in the sky, but it can't distinguish between a funnel cloud and a tornado. Only about one in five detected funnel clouds actually touches down to become a bona fide tornado.

Seismic readings could provide meteorologists with a ready means for distinguishing between funnel c

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