It has been discovered that the tremors that are so notorious around the San Andreas fault can occur due to solar and lunar tidal mechanisms.
Ever since an apple landed on Sir Isaac Newton’s head, people have been surmising a lot regarding the effects of the moon and sun on earthquakes. Over 81,000 low frequency tremors along the San Andreas Fault show this hypothesis to be true after all.
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The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Small and deep earthquakes in the San Andreas Fault occur everytime the tide is rising. A team of experts found thousands of earthquakes taking place along the tectonic plates of this famous faultline.
They were especially active during the fortnightly tides, according to LATimes. This was a two week long tidal cycle that occurred off the coast of California.
The highly complex movements of the sun and the moon relative to the earth cause a range of phenomena. Especially the tidal cycles are affected to a considerable degree.
Certain tides which occur every 12 hours and 24 hours are particularly active. Then there are other tides such as those which occur every fortnight or so. A fortnightly tide is especially active when an earth-moon bulge coincides with a earth-sun bulge.
The scenario is one of the solar and lunar forces rearranging the earth’s tides in the same manner as an accordion. This idea has been a favorite one of the scientists since centuries.
One of them even went ahead and offered a hypothesis concerning the effect of the moon on tidal and seismic activities on earth. The proof was missing, yet today we have all the evidence in the world to corroborate this hypothesis.
Now we know that tides trigger tremors on earth. These do not cause much damage and are limited to a few areas on the surface of our planet.
The low-frequency earthquakes (LFEs) are a very weak phenomenon. The fortnightly tides caused these LFEs and they are triggered at special times only.
Some conditions are necessary for these tremors to show up in their weak array along the San Andreas Fault. Therefore it appears to be the case that besides the tectonic plates, the gravitational pull of the sun and moon have a key role to play in these tremors.
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Tidal forces are a very important component of seismic activity and seismologists ought to take them into consideration besides the usual forces that have been studied in the past.