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Insignificant solar-terrestrial triggering of earthquakes

June 7, 2013

We examine the claim that solar-terrestrial interaction, as measured by sunspots, solar wind velocity, and geomagnetic activity, might play a role in triggering earthquakes. We count the number of earthquakes having magnitudes that exceed chosen thresholds in calendar years, months, and days, and we order these counts by the corresponding rank of annual, monthly, and daily averages of the solar-terrestrial variables. We measure the statistical significance of the difference between the earthquake-number distributions below and above the median of the solar-terrestrial averages by χ2 and Student's t tests. Across a range of earthquake magnitude thresholds, we find no consistent and statistically significant distributional differences. We also introduce time lags between the solar-terrestrial variables and the number of earthquakes, but again no statistically significant distributional difference is found. We cannot reject the null hypothesis of no solar-terrestrial triggering of earthquakes.

Publication Year 2013
Title Insignificant solar-terrestrial triggering of earthquakes
DOI 10.1002/grl.50211
Authors Jeffrey J. Love, Jeremy N. Thomas
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geophysical Research Letters
Index ID 70045357
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geologic Hazards Science Center