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New Study Suggests the Moon Triggers Enormous Earthquakes

Sep 13, 2016 04:55 AM EDT
A Plane Is Dwarfed As It Flies Past The Moon
New study reveals that the full moon may trigger enormous earthquakes.
(Photo : Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A team of geologists from the University of Tokyo has made a surprising discovery. In their study, Suguru Yabe and Yoshiyuki Tanaka state that the full moon can trigger enormous earthquakes. They found strong evidence after examining three separate databases on large scale seismic activities.

Led by Satoshi Ide, a seismologist at the University of Tokyo, Yabe and Tanaka along with their team had examined three seismic events. These include the 2004 Sumatra quake with a magnitude of 9.3, the 2010 Maule quake in Chile with a magnitude of 8.8, and the 2011 Fukushima quake with a magnitude of 9.0.

The geologists found an overlap between these events and periods of high tidal stress, along with the alignment of the Sun and Moon which yields the strongest gravitational tug on Earth. In addition, the 2011 Japan quake and the 2004 Sumatra quake occurred during a high tide. Based on further research and examination, nine of the 12 biggest earthquakes recorded had occurred on days with a new or full moon.

"This sort of tidal triggering could teach us something pretty fundamental about how earthquakes start, grow, and ultimately run their course," stated the authors of the study.

Details as to how the earthquakes form and evolve have yet to be worked out. Yet, the study by the Japanese geologists brings more insight to earthquakes and its relation to the moon.

"[The study] suggests that the small additional encouragement from the tides can actually make an earthquake grow a bit larger than it would have otherwise. This is surprising, considering how small the tidal stress is, compared to the stresses generated by the ongoing earthquake. If the observation can be confirmed, this sort of tidal triggering could teach us something pretty fundamental about how earthquakes start, grow, and ultimately run their course," stated Nicholas van der Elst of the U.S. Geological Survey.

It is still too early to conclude that earthquakes are indeed caused by the movements of the moon.

Read More:
Mystery Solved! Moon Came From Earth's Tidbits, Study Reveals
Oklahoma Earthquake is the State’s Largest on Record So Far
Awakening the Giant! Iceland's Largest Volcano Might Erupt After Unusual Big Quakes

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