New research has been released, and the conclusion it brings is that the moon may be a contributing factor in earthquakes here on Earth.
Scientists have long examined the relationship between the Earth and the moon. They also have suspected, according to MSN, that the moon played a role in earthquakes across the globe.
Unfortunately, this has always been nothing more than a theory. For years, scientists were unable to find a correlation between the moon and Earth’s earthquakes.
New scientific evidence has now taken scientists from “theory” to “reality.”
How The Moon Influences Earth
The moon causes high tides. It does so by creating a gravitational pull, which then changes the ocean water here on Earth.
Twice a month, the moon has a full or new cycle. During this time, ocean tides are higher than usual. This is also when the sun, moon, and Earth line up with one another. The result? An extra high tide.
Researchers now believe that this extra high tide is what leads to additional stress on the Earth’s surface. The pressure then falls on the faults, which may lead to quakes.
The moon also pulls on the Earth’s crust, very slightly during these times.
The study, conducted by the University of Tokyo and published in Nature Geoscience released their findings about how the moon influences Earth; and, possibly causes earthquakes.
About The Study
The study, spearheaded by Satoshi Ide, took data from more than two decades. They reconstructed high tides, their respective timing, and then the moon’s gravitational pull at those times, says The Atlantic. They then measured the amplitude of those tides against earthquakes (specifically large quakes) that occurred within two weeks of the tide change.
The team found that some of the most devastating events occurred when the Earth’s crust was dealing with high tide stress.
The 2004 Sumatran earthquake, which created a deadly tsunami, took place near full moon and during a spring tide. The same goes for the 2010 earthquake in Chile. Both were during peak tidal stress periods when the moon had exceptional gravitational force over the Earth and the Earth’s crust.
The earthquake in 2011 in Japan, which caused a tragic tsunami, happened during a neap tide period. Again, the stress was high on the Earth’s crust.
Unfortunately, the study did not uncover any relationship between tide changes and smaller earthquakes.
However, a study published by a US Geological Seismologist stated that low-frequency earthquakes along the San Andreas fault tend to occur during the moon’s waxing phase.
What Does This Mean For The Future?
There is no earthquake prediction system in place as of yet. With this new information, the U.S. Geological Survey and other services may be able to predict earthquakes better — especially along delicate fault lines.
As of right now, it is still too new for scientists, and more research must be done to assess forecasting techniques better.
For the time being, scientists are rejoicing in their discovery and will continue to work toward finding a forecast model that could potentially save thousands of lives in the future.