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Earth Sciences

Can you feel an earthquake while flying in an airplane?


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July 02, 2008 3:43PM

No, you would not feel an earthquake in the air for a few reasons. The only physical connection between the airplane and the ground while flying is air. Air is a gas. A gas can be compressed so it will act like a buffer and absorb the shock waves. Also being high in the atmosphere, you are far away from the earth, which is quaking so there is a lot of air between you to absorb the quake. Plus as you go up in the atmosphere, the air gets thinner so there's less air to vibrate. Just to give you an example, even if you held a seismograph a few inches off the ground, it wouldn't detect anything. Now if a highly sensitive piece of equipment couldn't feel it, you're safe in the air.