The director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) says it’s unlikely that a seismic signal on the seafloor off Malaysia was caused by an airplane crash.
Seismologists from the University of Science and Technology of China reported Friday that they detected a slight tremor about 85 minutes after the last contact with Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. The scientists speculated that the tremor, located between Vietnam and Malaysia, might have been created by the plane crashing into the water.
But PNSN Director John Vidale said a plane hitting the water probably could not generate vibrations strong enough to be picked up by seismic stations 300 miles away, as reported by the Chinese scientists. “It’s not very convincing,” he said. “Airplanes aren’t that heavy.”
The area where the signal was detected is seismically active, so a small underwater earthquake is the most likely explanation, Vidale said.