Is there such a thing as earthquake weather?

Posted at 8:10 PM, Dec 18, 2017

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) -- Is there such a thing as earthquake weather? The short answer is no.

“You need to think about the two energy sources. Earthquakes derive their energy from the heat flow from the interior of the earth,” said Geologist Dr. Pat Abbott.

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“Now weather is basically controlled by the sun and that’s external energy coming in from the sun to the surface of the earth. So stop and think how much heat from the sun penetrates all the way down 11 miles deep. The basic answer is none,” Dr. Abbott added. 

The belief that there is such a thing as earthquake weather has its origins in ancient times. 

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“The common misconception that earthquakes occur during hot and dry weather dates to the ancient Greeks. Earthquakes take place miles underground, and can happen at any time in any weather,” the State of California Department of Conservation said on their website.

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In the 4th Century B.C., Aristotle proposed that earthquakes could be caused by winds that became trapped in subterranean caves.

According to the United States Geological Survey, small tremors were thought to be caused by air pushing on the cavern roofs. Large earthquakes were thought to be caused by the air breaking the surface.

The theory lead to the belief that, because a large amount of air was trapped underground, the weather would be calm and hot before an earthquake.

The USGS says there are “approximately an equal distribution of earthquakes in cold weather, hot weather, rainy weather, etc.”

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The agency does note on their website that certain types of weather may play a very small role in events called "fault slips."

“Very large low-pressure changes associated with major storm systems (typhoons, hurricanes, etc) are known to trigger episodes of fault slip (slow earthquakes) in the Earth’s crust and may also play a role in triggering some damaging earthquakes. However, the numbers are small and are not statistically significant.”