Is there earthquake weather?

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Episode Number: 56

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Location Taken: US

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Hello and welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Steve Sobieszczyk. Let's see what we have for today.

Is there earthquake weather?

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 up on the cavern ceilings, and large ones by the air breaking the surface. This theory lead to a belief in earthquake weather, that because a large amount of air was trapped underground, the weather would be hot and calm before an earthquake. A later theory stated that earthquakes occurred in calm, cloudy conditions, and were usually preceded by strong winds, fireballs, and meteors. You know bad omens and end of day's type of stuff.

Nowadays, thanks to the advent of science, it has been shown there is no connection between weather and earthquakes. Earthquakes are the result of geologic processes within the earth and can happen in any weather and at any time during the year. Earthquakes originate miles underground. Wind, precipitation and barometric pressure changes affect only the surface and shallow subsurface of the Earth. Earthquakes are focused at depths well out of the reach of weather, and the forces that cause earthquakes are much larger than the weather forces. Earthquakes occur in all types of weather, in all climate zones, in all seasons of the year, and at any time of day.

And now you know. Join us every weekday for a new CoreFact. If you have a question you think we should answer on the air, email it to us at corefacts@usgs.gov or leave us a voicemail at 703-648-5600; long distance fees do apply.

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