The following report from NewScientist.com has our old friends "Cause" and "Effect" the wrong way around as they have not included the Sun's Solar Wind with the "Lunar Forcing" article. This time Michael Marshall has gone outside the Earth to look for an answer to Earthquakes
Monitoring tides could predict major quakes
- Michael Marshall - newscientist.com
THE rise and fall of the tides could help us to predict major earthquakes like the magnitude 9 quake that triggered Japan's tsunami last year.
Sachiko Tanaka of the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention in Tsukuba, Japan, says that as stresses build up in the Earth's crust, it becomes more susceptible to minor earthquakes triggered by tidal forces, a sign of major quakes to come. She has spent over a decade amassing evidence for her theory. According to her latest results, tidally triggered earthquakes were rife off the north-east coast of Japan for several years before 2011's massive earthquake.
"I read hundreds of earthquake prediction papers," says Ross Stein of the United States Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. "The vast majority is dry rot. Tanaka's stands out. It could be very important."
At high tide, more water is piled up on top of geological faults, adding to the stress acting on the rocks. If the fault is already close to rupture, the effect can trigger small tremors.
Tanaka compared records of tides and submarine earthquakes from 1976 to 2011 for 100,000 square kilometres surrounding the epicentre of last year's quake. For the first 25 years of records, there was no sign of tidally triggered earthquakes, but after 2000 the number of these quakes gradually increased, reaching a peak just before last year's megaquake. Afterwards, the effect disappeared again (Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1029/2012GL051179).
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