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Thread: Thoughts on Earthquakes and the Tides

  1. #1 Thoughts on Earthquakes and the Tides 
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    Is it possible that the tidal forces of the Sun's gravitational effect could push and pull on the earth in varied ways during the sidereal year, and these tugs could possible influence earthquake activity? I feel like the same forces that are behind the tides could be the same ones that trigger earthquakes because it distorts the earth. My thinking goes that earthquakes build up pressure, and at a spring tide could set them off because of stresses produced. On other planets in our solar system gravity warps the planet with such a great degree that volcanic activity is produced(Io, for example). So if volcanic activity can be influenced by tidal forces on other planets why would tidal forces not affect our volcanism too? I'm not sure what the statistical correlation is with this but I thought I might give it a shot and throw it out there.


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    Neat question. I did a quick search and found that there's a couple papers that seem to support your idea.

    This one finds a relationship between shallow quakes and the earth tide.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/conten...ract/1103961v1

    Earth tides are interesting in their own right.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_tide

    And your quite right there are some moons in our solar system where deformation and tidal warming are very pronounced. It's a very minor term in generating heat on earth.


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    Well I used the volcanism as an example of the power of the forces at work and what is possible, not that it would somehow generate heat to cause earthquakes. I think it's more like hairpin trigger type of thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordian
    Well I used the volcanism as an example of the power of the forces at work and what is possible, not that it would somehow generate heat to cause earthquakes. I think it's more like hairpin trigger type of thing.
    I agree, and it makes sense. Given the tidal forcing its a bit surprising the positive correlation isn't even higher.

    In a related subject I know there's quite a few minor and shallow quakes associated with isostatic adjustment from filling large reservoirs and it's been observed due to retreating glaciers in Alaska.

    It's a really neat topic of discussion.
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