Could Full Moons Trigger Large Earthquakes?

By Carlos Delgado

If you live in California, Earthquakes are just a fact of life. That’s why when any news regarding how and why earthquakes occur is of particular interest to us. Our neighbors on the other side of the Ring of Fire are just as interested as well in finding out what triggers earthquakes, especially large tremors like the 9.0 2011 quake that devastated Japan.

Well researchers at the University of Tokyo might just be one step closer in understanding what cause a fault to rupture, and it involves, of all things, the moon, particularly full moons. In a paper published in Nature.com, researchers that “very large earthquakes, including the 2004 Sumatran, 2010 Maule earthquake in Chile, and the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake in Japan tend to occur near the time of maximum tidal stress amplitude.”

Let JACK translate for you.

Remember in grade school when you learned about how the moon’s gravity is what causes high and low tides here on Earth? Well it turns out the stress of those moving tides could be enough to trigger a monster quake, in particular, the stress during a full moon.

That correlation, however, was found only with large magnitude earthquakes. There’s a full moon this Friday, September 16th. Sleep tight!

 

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