Friday, June 24, 2011

California Quake Coming?

Being a Southern California resident has motivated me to keep an eye on earthquakes. One key to understanding earthquakes is tectonic pressure. Tectonic pressure builds up between plates and is released when the plates slip over, under or sideways relative to each other. Another curiosity is how little gravitational influences are discussed in relation to earthquakes, so I began forming a hypothesis.

Some moons in the solar system are heated by the gravitational push and pull exerted upon them by their planets. Our moon pulls on Earth enough to cause tides upon trillions of tons of water. After large solar flares eject billions of tons of charged particles near Earth, it is logical to assume that this gravitational influence would cause additional tectonic pressure.

The recent Honshu earthquake moved Japan east. This would seem to infer that on the opposite side of the associated tectonic plates there would be a pressure change. Either an increase or decrease in pressure could start a chain reaction of earthquakes as the pressure equalizes between connected tectonic plates. If we add a few billion tons of gravity to the cycle, should we see an increase in large quake frequency?

Here is a list of my USGS global earthquake ( >= 6.0 magnitude) email alerts since the last significant Honshu aftershock:
 If you map these quakes, they look like darts hitting a board but missing California. The more recent the quake, the closer to California they appear to become.  Additionally, Solar Flare 47 is expected to arrive at Earth today (June 24th, 2011) and an asteroid is going to pass very close to the us on June 27th.

Could all these factors add up to a big quake in California? No one can say for certain, but the dartboard is full everywhere else!

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