Rain Causes Earthquakes

Published on December 12th, 2011 | by

Rain causes earthquakes?  That’s what a recent study examining heavy precipitation events and the timing of major earthquakes concludes.

Researchers at the University of Miami found that major earthquakes of magnitude 6 and above followed seasons of heavy tropical cyclone activity.

The mechanism behind it?  “The heavy rain induces thousands of landslides and severe erosion, which removes ground material from the Earth’s surface, releasing the stress load and encouraging movement along faults,” said Shimon Wdowinski, associate research professor of marine geology and geophysics at the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Understanding how rain affects seismic activity could be valuable in predicting which regions are most at risk for earthquakes.

Earthquake photo via Shutterstock.


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