According to a recently published study, the phase of the moon influences seismic activity. Researchers are trying to understand the link between the phases of the moon, tides, and earthquakes in order to devise a system that could predict seismic activity better.
The article was published in the Nature Geoscience magazine on Monday. The authors, a group of scientists from Tokyo University concluded that
“large earthquakes are more probable during periods of high tidal stress.”
It seems that the phases of the moon are linked with tidal stress and the intensity of earthquakes. If a quake takes place during a new or a full moon, when tidal forces are the strongest, the intensity of the quake rises exponentially.
The paper focuses on data collected from California, Japan, and other earthquake-prone areas of the world. According to the results of the research, all of the strong quakes from the last decade took place during a full or a new moon. For example, both the 2010 Chile quake and the 2011 Japan earthquake took place during maximum tidal stress amplitude.
According to Satoshi Ide, lead author of the study and seismologist at the Tokyo University, after analyzing more than 10,000 earthquakes with an average magnitude of 5.5 on the Richter scale, they found that the quakes that started during a period of high tidal stress were more likely to reach an 8 on the Richter scale, even more.
All earthquakes start small. However, their intensity is defined by a multitude of factors, among which, the phases of the moon. Researchers are still looking into all of the factors that contribute to the intensity of an earthquake, but they are advising people who live in areas prone to such natural phenomena to be prepared for an intense event no matter the phase of the moon.
While tidal effect does play a significant role in the intensity of an earthquake, its influence is still small. The moon influences seismic activity, but it’s just one of the factors that affect the magnitude of a seism.
Before researchers are able to come up with a precise way of predicting large seism, they are advising people always to keep some water and canned goods in the bedroom while also familiarizing themselves with the basics steps of earthquake survival.
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