Is the moon contributing to earthquakes?

Scientists and conspiracy theorists alike have suspected that the moon may cause (or at least contribute to) earthquakes – and now they have data.

A study, published Monday in Nature Geoscience by Satoshi Ide, a seismologist at the University of Tokyo, links extreme high tides with several recent high-magnitude earthquakes, suggesting that just as the moon’s gravitational pull moves the oceans, it can also put pressure on sensitive fault lines in the Earth’s crust.

“We find that very large earthquakes, including the 2004 Sumatran, 2010 Maule earthquake in Chile, and the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake in Japan, tend to occur near the time of maximum tidal stress amplitude,” the study authors wrote. “This tendency is not obvious for small earthquakes. However, we also find that the fraction of large earthquakes increases … as the amplitude of tidal shear stress increases.” READ MORE.