Are Earthquakes Weather-Related?

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By By Steve Pool

- There are some old wives tales out there that either hot, dry weather or hot and muggy weather used to be a precursor to earthquakes, or were at least an aid in predicting earthquakes.

But the real answer is: weather and earthquakes aren't related in any way. Earthquakes happen deep underground, while the weather is obviously occurring the atmosphere above.

Quakes happen because the ground is always in motion -- albeit very, very slowly. Earth's surface is made up of several moving plates of land that move a few centimeters a year. When these plates collide, they grind and push against each other, building up pressure. When that pressure gets too great, the plates snap and lurch forward.

You feel the ground lurching as an earthquake. The more the plate moves, the stronger the quake. But weather has no effect on what that pressure lets loose.

geology.er.usgs.gov

www.geophys.washington.edu

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