Apparrent size difference at Perigee and Apogee

Just to be Clear: The Moon Did Not Cause the Earthquake in Japan

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

by

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We’re getting a lot of visitors to our site today, many searching for information about earthquakes, tsunamis, and the ‘SuperMoon’ phenomenon. Just to be clear, the Moon did not cause the earthquake in Japan. Several scientists have posted articles online today clarifying the topic, and all of them, in no uncertain terms, agree that the the upcoming perigee of the Moon — where it is closer than usual in its orbit to Earth — had nothing to do with the earthquake and ensuing tsunami. Tammy discussed this yesterday, but as we often do, we’ll also point you in the direction of an article by astronomer Phil Plait about this topic, and another by Ben Goldacre, who completely debunks an article that appeared in the Daily Mail about the possibility of a connection between the two events.

In addition, Dr. Jim Garvin, chief scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, has provided some answers to questions about the ‘supermoon’ phenomenon, below:

Question: What is the definition of a supermoon and why is it called that?

Garvin: ‘Supermoon’ is a situation when the moon is slightly closer to Earth in its orbit than on average, and this effect is most noticeable when it occurs at the same time as a full moon. So, the moon may seem bigger although the difference in its distance from Earth is only a few percent at such times.

It is called a supermoon because this is a very noticeable alignment that at first glance would seem to have an effect. The ‘super’ in supermoon is really just the appearance of being closer, but unless we were measuring the Earth-Moon distance by laser rangefinders (as we do to track the LRO [Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter] spacecraft in low lunar orbit and to watch the Earth-Moon distance over years), there is really no difference. The supermoon really attests to the wonderful new wealth of data NASA’s LRO mission has returned for the Moon, making several key science questions about our nearest neighbor all the more important.

Question: Are there any adverse effects on Earth because of the close proximity of the moon?

Garvin: The effects on Earth from a supermoon are minor, and according to the most detailed studies by terrestrial seismologists and volcanologists, the combination of the moon being at its closest to Earth in its orbit, and being in its ‘full moon’ configuration (relative to the Earth and sun), should not affect the internal energy balance of the Earth since there are lunar tides every day. The Earth has stored a tremendous amount of internal energy within its thin outer shell or crust, and the small differences in the tidal forces exerted by the moon (and sun) are not enough to fundamentally overcome the much larger forces within the planet due to convection (and other aspects of the internal energy balance that drives plate tectonics). Nonetheless, these supermoon times remind us of the effect of our ‘Africa-sized’ nearest neighbor on our lives, affecting ocean tides and contributing to many cultural aspects of our lives (as a visible aspect of how our planet is part of the solar system and space).

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iantresman
Member
March 11, 2011 6:25 PM

Which part of Ben Goldacre’s article, debunks the article in the Daily Mail? I see no more science than the Daily Mail article.

IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE
Member
IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE
March 11, 2011 8:59 PM

Dude, try clicking on the “the caveat in paragraph #19” link.

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
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The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 11, 2011 11:46 PM

For someone who claims they are trained in the sciences, you seem to have a ridiculous degree of almost idiopathic tunnel vision in its application.

From your words here, we can only conclude that you think here that the astrologers might be right? If so. you are much crazier than I thought.

iantresman
Member
March 12, 2011 2:42 AM

Your comment reads just like a horoscope: Personal, sensational, inaccurate and baseless.

And you are asking me to predict whether the astrologers might be right? (notes irony). Right about their moon prediction? I’ll just wait until next week, then we’ll know for sure whether they were right or wrong.

Perhaps you are asking whether astrology is right, and can predict lunar-caused earthquakes? For the record, I think that astrology and horoscopes are bunkum. If you read the Daily Mail article, it doesn’t tell you on what, the astrologers made their predications. For all I know, these astrologers based their predictions on some peer-reviewed scientific papers. It’s unlikely, but I’ll check the facts first before jumping to conclusions.

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 13, 2011 2:47 AM

Astrology just like EU/PC is NOT science. Making claims of scientific fact using (or professing) pseudoscience is actually meaningless.
If he wants to be taken seriously, the jerk behind it should not have called himself an astrologer.

iantresman
Member
March 12, 2011 1:21 AM

Yes, I read the Caveat in Paragraph #19. (1) It has nothing to do with Moons (2) Again, it contains no science (3) Goldactres is guilty doing exactly the same as he is criticising, and not getting to the point until Paragraph 19.

So I stand by my original comment. Where is the debunking of this particular issue? Just point me to ANY relevant sentence.

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
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The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 12, 2011 1:23 AM

…astrology is crap! Who really needs evidence!

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
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The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 12, 2011 1:37 AM
Let’s see. Well the article of the Daily Mail (linked directly by Goldactres) says; “Two days ago, in an interview with ABC radio discussing the potential impact of the March 19 supermoon, astrologer Richard Nolle, who first coined the term in 1979, said he was convinced that lunar perigees cause natural disasters on Earth. ‘Supermoons have a historical association with strong storms, very high tides, extreme tides and also earthquakes,’ he said. However, scientists dismiss this as utter nonsense and that although it makes a good photo opportunity for astronomers it has no impact on Earth. Dr David Harland, space historian and author, said: ‘It’s possible that the moon may be a kilometre or two closer to Earth… Read more »
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
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The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 12, 2011 1:38 AM

I think ad ignorantiam makes you look like the dipstick, actually…

iantresman
Member
March 12, 2011 3:02 AM
Agreed, astrology is bunkum. But Richard Nolle did not use astrology to make his prediction. He made a valid hypothesis suggesting that “lunar perigees cause natural disasters on Earth.” The statement is not incorrect because he is an astrologer. Perhaps he based his statement on peer-reviewed papers, such as these: L. Knopoff, “Correlation of earthquakes with lunar orbital motions”, in Earth, Moon, and Planets, Volume 2, Number 2, 140-143, DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00561957 John F. Simpson, “Earth tides as a triggering mechanism for earthquakes”, in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 2, Issue 5, August 1967, Pages 473-478. doi: dx.doi.org/10.1016/0012-821X(67)90192-6 Fritz Gackstatter “Lunisolar Effect on Spring Tides, Earthquakes, and Tsunamis”, Journal of Coastal Research, (2007) Volume 23, Issue 2: pp.… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
March 12, 2011 3:31 AM

Well, let’s see:

The moon’s perigee is on 1 week. By now, the moon is almost as far away as it could be (I read on BA it’s about 400.000km). So the “supermoon” had no causal connection to this event.

There, case closed.

Janedoe
Member
Janedoe
March 11, 2011 8:03 PM

I think you are missing the bigger picture here!! All things work together and if you all would communicate with your left hand to see what your right hand knew and vice versa then maybe we’d all learn the truth of things don’t you think?
I am surprised that those of us that can connect the dots seem to know more about your business then you sometimes through minor speculation and insight mixed with common sense.
How long you gonna keep the real truth from us all? Was your buddies HAARP/CERN involved as well during the Solar Flare/CME bursts?
Time will tell cuz you evidently aren’t

IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE
Member
IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE
March 11, 2011 9:11 PM

Poe’s Law states:

Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 12, 2011 6:07 AM

HAARP?
You have no idea what you are talking about don’t you?
Now how exactly would HAARP create a CME?

Paul Eaton-Jones
Member
March 14, 2011 2:48 AM

Utterly crazy. You’re not the demented Jenny from the 2012 – comet site are you?

HelloBozos
Member
March 11, 2011 8:07 PM

Wasn’t the Moon,i’ll go with that, What about Sun? With all these x flare’s? 2 in short peroid…

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 11, 2011 11:32 PM
What about the so-called solid tides, where the Earth in average is daily kneed by 2 to 0.4mm everyday. Highest is about 4mm to 5mm in Western Australia. The concept of these tides date back to the geophysical work by Love (1944) and then by Munk and MacDonald (1975). The solid tides are influenced by the solar perihelion around January. The moon makes more of a difference in solid tides, and like ocean tides, the maximum ‘high water’ lags on average by about 2.5 hours. More importantly. “The magnitude of the velocity change depends on both the site latitude and which part of the 19.6 year periodic signal is sampled.” There seems to be another component, other than… Read more »
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
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The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 11, 2011 11:33 PM

Oops. The quote on the periodicity of solid tides comes from the linked paper!

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
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The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 12, 2011 3:26 AM
OK. Let’s quote Nolle, here. He claims that “Supermoons.. occur every 10 to 20 years – the most recent being in 1955, 1974, 1992 and 2005.” (Note the difference in years, here 19,18,13 years) Then almost magically, in 2011, it is again 18 years. He is obviously just using the Saros for his predictions, but is ignoring the error between past earthquakes. According to this article; http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/i-see-a-supermoon-rising-but-do-i-see-trouble-on-the-way-20110311-1bqrw.html “Mr Nolle said the most recent supermoon on February 18 had an impact on Earth from February 12 to 21. He drew a link between the lunar phenomenon and the Christchurch earthquake, which hit New Zealand on February 22.” Yet this time, he is stating his supermoon is not an instant… Read more »
Aqua4U
Member
March 12, 2011 10:49 AM
I think we can all agree that we have tides caused by the sun and moon. Two low tides and two high tides per day. As someone who frequents the ocean I pay attention to those cycles. We all know that tides are higher during new and full moons, less so at first quarter and third quarter. Yes, Luna and Sol help create the mixing pf waters in our seas. Does that tidal influence influence the liquid magma under the crust? I think its pretty obvious that they must but that influence is NOT nearly as instantaneous as the tides at sea.. instead that tidal pull stretches that magma like taffy, creating a ‘rolling’ bulge as the Earth… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
March 12, 2011 11:37 AM

Considering that the actual volumes magma is an insignificant part of the crust (and not usually part of what lies below), what the Moon would do is insignificant compared to what it does to the whole Earth by the tidal coupling to sea and gravitational irregularities.

What lies below the crust is the mantle, and its dynamical viscous time scales of hundreds of years means that the orbiting Moon time scales averages out.

The Moon is not a factor at its orbital time scale, apart from what the post mentions.

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 12, 2011 12:42 PM

Aqua, sea water is pretty fluid and is in open air. It can move pretty easy.
Magma under the crust is not that fluid and also is forced to stay under the crust. The lifting up and down of the crust is pretty equal distributed over very large surface. The Earth quake can only be triggered when there is enough difference in forces at the crack. But since the crust moves up and down equally the force difference is lower than other local forces e.g.like Earth’s own gravity and the force caused by moving plates. Maybe a small Earth Quake just next to it might have triggered this big one.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
March 13, 2011 9:22 AM
Maybe we are discussing confusing language (what is “under”?), but magma is a characteristic of *mainly* the crust: “Despite being found in such widespread locales, the bulk of the Earth’s crust and mantle is not molten. Rather, most of the Earth takes the form of a rheid, a form of solid that can move or deform under pressure. Magma, as liquid, preferentially forms in high temperature, low pressure environments within several kilometers of the Earth’s surface.” [Wp] Magma preferentially grows within the crust, in suitable locales where the surrounding mineral can melt. This is why I commented on Aqua’s what I interpret as incorrect description. I’m not sure what you mean by “forced to stay under the crust”.… Read more »
Silver Thread
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Silver Thread
March 12, 2011 1:54 PM
Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 12, 2011 3:12 PM

A reference to a media channel is proof?
The same channels that also promotes the end of the world when they see dead fish?

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 12, 2011 3:27 PM

This article talks about tidal forces, not the distance of the moon and not the rotation of the Moon around Earth but but the rotation of the Earth that causes this with the attracting force of the Moon.
Also a 1% of the Earth quakes only the magnitude 4.0 or less, do I not classify as proof. It might indicate an error in the methods they used to come to this conclusion.
So was this moon high above the horizon when the quake got triggered in Japan?

Trippy
Member
Trippy
March 12, 2011 8:33 PM

Did you read that before you linked it?
“A new study has found that bulges in Earth’s crust — solid Earth tides — trigger about 1 percent of earthquakes. ”
And:
“Scientists have known about this effect for over a century and have speculated that it might cause earthquakes. ”
And:
“The effect is most pronounced in smaller and shallower earthquakes, and harder to detect in tremors above magnitude 4.0. ”
And:
“Overall, the triggering effect is much weaker than expected, though. ”
(And queue the meaningless recital of “Theoretically it will impact big earthquakes too,” Metivier said. “But the main problem is that there aren’t enough big earthquakes to make a correlation.”)

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 13, 2011 4:40 AM

““But the main problem is that there aren’t enough big earthquakes to make a correlation.””

I would think that lack of big earth quakes to make a correlation could mean that the Moon does not trigger one. I would expect clockwork Earth quakes every month at a fixed date.

Uncle Fred
Member
Uncle Fred
March 12, 2011 8:46 PM

While these posts are fun and generate lots of interest and comments, I secretly wish UT steered clear of these topics. I understand the importance of debunking myths, phobias, and general tabloid nonsense. Yet these postings seem to act rather as a sounding call for the Astrology/EU/Plasma Universe/doomsday crowd (sorry if I left your pet idea out!).

Maybe I am wrong and there is a good reason to discuss these things here at UT.

iantresman
Member
March 13, 2011 1:10 AM

I don’t see any promotion of Astrology/EU/Plasma Universe/doomsday. I’ve just been critical of whether there has been any debunking, and what exactly was being debunked.So I’d be interested in what aspects of the discussion you disapprove?

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 13, 2011 2:33 AM
Please. Don’t be an absolute ass and drop all this innocent pretence. Do you have an opinion here, or are we up to the BS mind games, yet again? Saying “I’ve just been critical of whether there has been any debunking,…” and “I’d be interested in what aspects of the discussion you disapprove?” says an awful lot about your own unsubstantiated beliefs and its application in your mind. All I see underscored here is your promotion of own distorted notions and that you don’t really understand why they are being properly and continuously debunked all the time. Yet deep down you still don’t understand the open hostility in what you say, and why people completely reject what you… Read more »
iantresman
Member
March 13, 2011 3:05 AM

More insults. No surprise there. More inaccuracies (I have provided my opinion, for example, on astrology), and I have not promoted anything on PC/.EU, yet it is you that brings it up every time I post. I understand that science can be demanding for some people, but you don’t find me resorting to your style of rhetoric.

iantresman
Member
March 13, 2011 6:02 AM

“So you are not trying to get google rankings and followers by linking back to your web site?”

(1) My link has zero effect on Google Ranking. As is common on most blog sites, such links are tagged with a “nofollow” tag (2) Do you really think that people “succumb” to a website and become a “follower”? I bet that the number of people who have followed my link and become a “follower” is zero. And the number who are negative towards it, are significant. These figures are not based on any science, but is testable, and would seem to work against me.

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 13, 2011 4:47 AM

I have not promoted anything on PC/.EU, yet it is you that brings it up every time I post.

So you are not trying to get google rankings and followers by linking back to your web site?

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 13, 2011 5:29 AM
Yeah, right. A proponent of pseudoscience and you complain of inaccuracies!! You are really already notorious for promoting plasma universe stuff all the time. As for style rhetoric, mockery seems to be the only option you guys understand. Actually, your original complain Ben Goldacre’s article does debunks the article in the Daily Mail is wrong. Like me here, he really mocks the stupidity of it all. (You indirectly imply an astrologer might have something relevant to say on geophysics. The guy who promoted this whole nonsense tries to justify astrology as a qualification of his opinion.* If this is true, then why the heck do you comment about it?) According to this twit; “The April 18 full moon… Read more »
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 13, 2011 5:34 AM

Future Supermoon, according to Nolle, are on the following page; http://www.astropro.com/features/tables/cen21ce/suprmoon.html
His next supermoon is presumably November 14, 2016

According to him; “A SuperMoon is a perigee-syzygy, a new or full moon (syzygy) which occurs when the Moon is at 90% or greater of its mean
closest approach to Earth (perigee)”

Just plain nuts!

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 13, 2011 5:41 AM

Oh. You want direct evidence that this is for promotion of astrology, well here it is;

“If you’re interested in the history of SuperMoon alignments in connection with great storms, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, you’ll find a sampling of them in my book Interpreting Astrology (published by the American Federation of Astrologers).”

Its all about flogging astrology books!! And you say of me; “Your comment reads just like a horoscope: Personal, sensational, inaccurate and baseless.”

You are a total fool, sir!

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 13, 2011 4:44 AM

I don’t see any promotion of Astrology/EU/Plasma Universe/doomsday.
You are joking! Every one of your posts links to a Plasma universe web site.

Excalibur
Member
Excalibur
March 13, 2011 5:17 AM

http:\\www.plasma-universe.com March 13, 2011 at 1:10 am
I don’t see any promotion of Astrology/EU/Plasma Universe/doomsday. I’ve just been critical of whether there has been any debunking, and what exactly was being debunked.So I’d be interested in what aspects of the discussion you disapprove?

Are you saying you DONT promote http:\\www.plasma-universe.com ?

Uncle Fred
Member
Uncle Fred
March 13, 2011 9:32 AM
I wonder if UT could just ban individuals who promote their pet theories. Seems to me it’s usually the same several culprits every article. An enforcement of the rules on the forums would help keep the discussion centered around science. I would rather hear Crumb’s or Olaf’s considerable knowledge on Astronomy related topics over endless targeted diatribes. Lets face it, some of these guys live in an alternate realities. Others like LC tends to steer clear of the fray. Maybe if UT’s moderators could be encouraged to enforce forum rules, no one would need to counter the nonsense. Let me know what you guys think. If others here share this option I’ll contact UT and see if we… Read more »
iantresman
Member
March 13, 2011 12:43 PM

Hear hear. The BAUT forum rules> should apply.

HeadAroundU
Member
March 12, 2011 11:26 PM

I have a trouble with debunking here on UT as well. It’s like a double-edged sword.

The main problem is probably that UT advertises those sites. Negative ad is still ad…

iantresman
Member
March 13, 2011 5:51 AM

You’re joking right? A username link is not a “promotion”, nor an endorsement. It’s a link that if followed, declares my interest. I am sure that if it tell foul of UniverseToday rules, I would have been asked to remove it long ago.

I have no doubt that (a) if any of you linked to a website relevant to yourselves, then that would be fine, and would not be considered “promotion”, (b) even if I removed the link, do you think it would make one jot of difference.

Excalibur
Member
Excalibur
March 13, 2011 5:57 AM

Yes it would make a difference, you would no longer be suspected of promoting a personal opinion in violation with the rulse for posting on this site.

iantresman
Member
March 13, 2011 6:17 AM

Do you mean “person opinion” or “personal theory”, or both? If “personal opinion”, then that would suggest that I can’t give my personal opinion that astrology is bunkum. Which would suggest you mean “personal theory”, which my web site is not.

Excalibur
Member
Excalibur
March 13, 2011 6:44 AM
I would expect the topic at hand would limit what is “the topic at hand”. However this also makes this statement of mine off-topic so im not going to go into details. I am even going to appologize for briefly mentioning it. Your personal theory is also your personal opinion, by necessity. Other peoples theories may still be your personal opinion, if you accept the theory, wich you clearly seem to do as you link to the theory. Do you claim that you are NOT promoting that theory? Do you reject the Plasma Universe Theory? Your opinions do not all have to be theories, any and all of your opinions that are on-topic are perfectly acceptable. If Astrology… Read more »
iantresman
Member
March 13, 2011 7:47 AM

“Do you claim that you are NOT promoting that theory?
On Universe Today, I do not promote any theories.

“Do you reject the Plasma Universe Theory?”
Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the communist party? Do you believe in god. Do you accept dark matter and the dark forces. You never expect the inquisition!

“any and all of your opinions that are on-topic are perfectly acceptable”
Just let ,me know when I go off-topic then, by way of specific examples. I accept that this post is also off-top, and also apologise, and won’t go into details, and will continue on-topic.

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 13, 2011 7:44 AM
Actually, Excalibur, I’m really quite grateful for the link to this site. If it were not for its many useful inadequacies, it would have taken me ages for me to strip apart, piece by piece, the whole EU/PC facade. As for “I can’t give my personal opinion that astrology is bunkum.” Bingo! We’ve hit the jackpot. So our friend here must supports astrology even though he denies it! If he claims he doesn’t, he is using his own abhorrently held straw man argument just to imply the science must be doubtful. Ben Goldacre’s article or the DailyMail has nothing to do with his arguments here! It is all designed to sucker us into denying the undeniable! Such inconsistency… Read more »
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 13, 2011 8:21 AM

On Universe Today, I do not promote any theories.

One word. Bull.

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 13, 2011 7:15 AM

Let’s face fact here.You do promote your site, and you have historically done so by stealth. However, most here seem to use the link to their sites as a means of authority on some subject.
Most of the linked sites are junk, and many showing all how lost and deluded they really are. Old Anaconda, for example, just use to link it to a dead zone, thinking other might be trick that he knew what he was talking about.

iantresman
Member
March 13, 2011 11:21 AM
Did the Moon cause the Earthquake in Japan? The issue is not as clear-cut as suggested, depending on your definitions of “cause” and “influence”. There is no doubt the the Moon and Sun influence the Earth, causing not only the ocean tides, but also solid tides (AKA Earth tides), as noted by Hon. Salacious B. Crumb above. If a straw breaks the camel’s back, is the straw the cause? 1. Diurnal tides occur twice day. 2. Larger spring tides (twice a month) 3. Even larger equinox spring tides (twice a year) 4. Perigean spring tide coincide with the Moon’s perigee every 6.5 months (ref: http://goo.gl/eDutB PDF, p.8) are about 20% larger than usual (this is the so-called Supermoon,… Read more »
Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 13, 2011 12:07 PM

A mere 1% of all the earth quakes below 4.0!
I would call this a fluke in your data and time to figure out what you are doing wrong in your methodology.

Paul Eaton-Jones
Member
March 14, 2011 5:42 AM
I’m afraid that the chances of the ‘supermoon’ [stupid name] causing or even contributing to this earthquake or any ‘quake is as good as zero but let’s not allow the facts to get in the way of a good [scare]story. Earthquakes are caused by the movement of tectonic plates and the sticking and subsequent release of the sticking. They are driven by convection of the mantle heated by the decay of radioactive elements deep within the earth. They are not the product of pixies, elves, fairies, trolls or giant green lizards hiding under the ground or the proximity of the moon. As has been mentioned elsewhere on this story perigee is/was a week in the future but again… Read more »
Andy Jenkinson
Member
Andy Jenkinson
March 13, 2011 12:20 PM

Hang from a thin branch. It may not break for weeks.
Hang from aqnother similar branch. It may break immediately (especially if its structure has already been weakened.
You would still be a cause of both branches breaking.
Make a sand castle and hollow out the centre. Fill with water. Add a small drop so that it overflows. The small drop causes the water to erode the sand with devastating results. A small force can have major consequences. It is not very scientific to argue that the the sun and moon cannot cause earthquakes just because their influence is small. By ignoring the possibilities scientists are doing us all a disservice.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
March 13, 2011 12:30 PM

No one is ignoring possibilities when using likelihoods, that is the whole purpose of statistics, to account for properties of events in a space of possible outcomes and to do it in the best way possible.

What you are alluding to by your catastrophe figures of analogy is the areas of failure analysis and risk management, which are quite separated from astronomy and geology. I.e. what can happen in complicated systems (not what is already happening in processes such as orbital mechanics and geology) and how should we manage it in the best (humane and/or cheapest) way possible.

By ignoring the differences laymen are doing us all a disservice.

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 14, 2011 1:32 PM

Yes the moon has an effect, but the effect is tiny compared to the real forces that are also there. Also because the Earth rotates every 24h a day the likelihood that a big earthquake would have a chance to build up reaches zero fast. The plate never gets the chance to build up that high to have a severe Earth quake because the moon tear it down before it can build up.

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 14, 2011 1:33 PM

To build on top of that, what if I claim that the Earth quake happened because someone farted? Yes someone could fart and a mega Earth quake would be the result because of the straw that broke the camels back!

Paul Eaton-Jones
Member
March 14, 2011 2:38 AM
One of the things that is making me chuckle and boil at the same time is that anyone is taking seriously an article in The Daily Mail. For the non-UK people here the Mail is a now largely discredited newspaper whose accurate reporting hey-day is 60 years in the past. It has gone from being a fairly responsible paper [right of centre politically] to become the paper of choice of racists, petty right wing ideas and peddalling scaremongering stories about ‘too many immigrants’ and social security scroungers. Its sports coverage is however rather good. Also what burns me is the fact that we never, ever see one of these pseudo-scientists/crackpots pitted against a scientist in an open debate… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
March 14, 2011 6:55 AM
Reposted from the “supermoon” article: Tidal forces are a change in the gravity field across a body. In the case of the earth this is Delta F = 2GMmd/r^3, for d the diameter of the Earth and r the orbital radius to the moon. The dependency on the radius is cubic, which means any small variation in r is pretty small. If I have r change to r + &r (r >> &r) then the cubic reciprocal of this is about 1/r^3 + 3&r/r^4. Here the &r is the radial difference between perigee and the average orbital radius. Some thinking should indicate the change is pretty small. The decreased distance between the Earth and the moon at perigee… Read more »
Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 14, 2011 1:36 PM

LBC, formulas are nice but kids get impressed by numbers or by comparing to something they know.

e.g. How big would this camel be for a straw to break its back wink

Aqua4U
Member
March 15, 2011 1:07 PM

I’m thinking in terms of the Earth/Moon gravitational barycenter and how that moves and/or is enhanced by the Moon’s proximity and how that might correlate with Solar tidal resonances which then might vibrate in long wave harmonic cycles that eventually hit the right NODE and like Tesla’s ‘rumored. resonance generator, create a sudden rise in amplitude! BANG! Shake it up!

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 20, 2011 10:34 AM

Apparently, we are the 20th right now almost the 21th.
Incredible boring super moon in regard to some disaster.

It amazes me that all those doom’s sayers are now in shock that nothing happened…. again. Another one of the failed prediction list. Also 15 March failed to deliver an end of the world situation again.

William928
Member
William928
March 14, 2011 4:15 PM

Uncle Fred, I support you completely. Unfortunately, anything short of banning the “nutters”, as HSBC calls them, will likely fail. I thought the UT rules were quite clear, but these insane comments don’t seem to be moderated anymore. I’m afraid we’ll see more of this nonsense in response to the latest article regarding dark matter.

William928
Member
William928
March 14, 2011 4:16 PM

IVAN3MAN, Good to have you back! Had you lost your coat and hat?

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 19, 2011 10:55 AM

I did some teeny weenie calculation about the gravitational influence of the moon on any mass on Earth. It is only 0.4 to 0.3 milli procent. That is it, nothing more.
Local forces have way more influence than the Moon ever could.

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 19, 2011 11:08 AM

… or even that the forces involved in the fault line finally braking might have something to the fault line itself.

Have these jackasses ever considered the influence of the moon against the friction of moving fault lines. I.e. What is the primary force driving the earthquake in Japan? The inference is that the the trigger of the quake was the Moon itself, when clearly it is not and is not the only factor.

Great comment, Olaf. Drive home that these doomsayers are nothing more than uneducated and deluded fools!

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 19, 2011 10:55 AM

Oh yes, supermoon almost passed and we have a boring day.

darrelwright
Member
darrelwright
March 22, 2011 4:11 AM

The moon helps the Earth get high tides and low tides! Not Cause EarthQuakes!
http://gripperclippers.org/

billavet
Member
March 23, 2011 7:48 AM

Sooo, when the moon is CLOSER to the earth and aligned with the sun it causes moon quakes, but cannot cause earth quakes. Yeah, Right! The moon pulls the tides, but cannot affect tectonic plates floating on magma. Yeah, right! Someone needs to recheck their physics 101. WS

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 23, 2011 2:01 PM

There is no evidence of Earth causing Moon quakes, especially when you realize that the same face of the moon is pointing towards Earth.

I did a small calculation and the effect of the moon was somewhere 0.3 micro pro-cent while Earth’s influence would be 99.9997%. You can check this simple, Earth’s gravitational attraction is 9.82 m/s^2. That is awful big compared to what the moon attracts. You know the drill F = -Gxm1xM2/r^2

Yes the sea moves up and down, but don’t forget that this see is basically unrestricted in its movement while the rest of the Earth is far more fixed or has no easy way to move since it is not in free air.

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 23, 2011 2:04 PM

At the closest point the moon would have a 0.4 micro procent attraction force. The earth’s force would still be 99.9996% compared to the moons attraction.
Basically, the cause of Earth quakes is for 99.9996% caused by Earth’s own gravity in combination with plate tectonics, and 0.0001% chance of the passing truck.

wjwbudro
Member
wjwbudro
March 23, 2011 2:25 PM

“Yes the sea moves up and down, but don’t forget that this see is basically unrestricted in its movement while the rest of the Earth is far more fixed or has no easy way to move since it is not in free air.”

Yes but, does it not have a molten mantel and that mantel exerts pressures on the crust which is basically floating rock above the mantel? Now we have a body out there with a gravitational attraction that is competing/pulling against the earth’s gradient gravity including the mantel. Hope I said that right.

wpDiscuz