Do solar flares or magnetic storms (space weather) cause earthquakes?
Solar flares and magnetic storms belong to a set of phenomena known collectively as "space weather". Technological systems and the activities of modern civilization can be affected by changing space-weather conditions. However, it has never been demonstrated that there is a causal relationship between space weather and earthquakes. Indeed, over the course of the Sun's 11-year variable cycle, the occurrence of flares and magnetic storms waxes and wanes, but earthquakes occur without any such 11-year variability. Since earthquakes are driven by processes in the Earth's interior, they would occur even if solar flares and magnetic storms were to somehow cease occurring.
No, California is not going to fall into the ocean. California is firmly planted on the top of the earth’s crust in a location where it spans two tectonic plates. The San Andreas Fault System, which crosses California from the Salton Sea in the south to Cape Mendocino in the north, is the boundary between the Pacific Plate...Read Full Answer
In the 4th Century B.C., Aristotle proposed that earthquakes were caused by winds trapped in subterranean caves. Small tremors were thought to have been caused by air pushing on the cavern roofs, and large ones by the air breaking the surface. This theory lead to a belief in earthquake weather, that because a large amount...Read Full Answer
The earliest reference we have to unusual animal behavior prior to a significant earthquake is from Greece in 373 BC. Rats, weasels, snakes, and centipedes reportedly left their homes and headed for safety several days before a destructive earthquake. Anecdotal evidence abounds of animals, fish, birds, reptiles, and insects...Read Full Answer
No, earthquakes of magnitude 10 or larger cannot happen. The magnitude of an earthquake is related to the length of the fault on which it occurs. That is, the longer the fault, the larger the earthquake. A fault is a break in the rocks that make up the Earth's crust, along which rocks on either side have moved past each...Read Full Answer
No. Neither the USGS nor any other scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake. We do not know how, and we do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future. An earthquake prediction must define 3 elements: 1) the date and time, 2) the location, and 3) the magnitude.
Yes, some people...Read Full Answer
Electromagnetic variations have been observed after earthquakes, but despite decades of work, there is no convincing evidence of electromagnetic precursors to earthquakes. It is worth acknowledging that geophysicists would actually love to demonstrate the reality of such precursors, especially if they could be used for...Read Full Answer
Measurements of the three-dimensional structure of the earth, as opposed to the one-dimensional models typically used, can help scientists more accurately determine which areas of the United States are most vulnerable to blackouts during hazardous geomagnetic storms.
While major geomagnetic storms are rare, with only a few recorded per century, there is significant potential for large-scale impacts when they do occur. Extreme space weather can be viewed as hazards for the economy and national security.
New strides have been made toward quantifying how geomagnetic storms can interfere with the nation’s electric-power grid systems.
Magnetic storms can interfere with the operation of electric power grids and damage grid infrastructure. They can also disrupt directional drilling for oil and gas, radio communications, communication satellites and GPS systems.
Active Region 12192 on the sun erupted with a strong flare on October 24, 2014, prominent in the bright light of this image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. This image shows extreme ultraviolet light that highlights the hot solar material in the sun's atmosphere. Credit: NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's VISIONS—VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom imaging during a Substorm—sounding rocket mission is studying what makes auroras and how they affect Earth’s atmosphere. The VISIONS rocket was launched at night in Poker Flats, Alaska, in February 2013. Credit: Joshua Strang, U.S. Air Force
“Aurora Borealis,” Frederic Edwin Church, 1865. Aurora silently illuminates a barren and frozen world of mountains, a schooner locked in sea ice, and a man with a dog-drawn sled in this richly symbolic landscape painting. Credit: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC/Art Resource, NY
Aurora or "northern lights" are the result of magnetic storms.
GOES antenna at Deadhorse geomagnetic observatory.
Three perspectives on the events that create geomagnetic storms: A storm from the Sun, a global perspective of an auroral event as seen from space and aurora as seen from Earth. Researchers at NASA's Langley Research Center are using the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) satellite to take new measurements of the E-region of the ionosphere - an active, charged layer that is crucial for the transmission of satellite, radio and GPS signals.
Magnetic Observations being made by F. P. Ulrich at Sitka in 1929.