As usual I’m late for the bandwagon, hey, guys, wait up! Ok, so David Winter over at The Atavism has already compared Ken Ring’s predictions to the actual data around the latest quake and done an excellent job. Several other Scibloggers have also contributed articles around this topic (1,2,3,4), hopefully I can provide a slightly different angle.
After the interview with Ken Ring on Tuesday I received a phone call from a mate about Ken’s hypothesis and we had an interesting discussion about the nature of science and the plausibility that one guy is right and an entire field of scientists is wrong. I felt it was low, in the spirit of egalitarianism he (and I suspect many others in the community) thought it was worth taking seriously. One thing that came up was the possibility that the world community of seismologists has completely ignored any effect that the moon might have on earthquake activity.
On the face of things the proposal that the moon has an effect on the Earth’s crust is uncontroversial. After all tides in the worlds oceans is a direct effect of the Moon’s (and Sun’s) gravity on the massive body of water encircling out globe. Indeed the crust of the Earth does also move due to the Moon, up to 0.5 meters. It is also known that tidal forces can inject large amounts of energy into a celestial body. So the suggestion that the Moon could put stress on the faultlines of the Earth and trigger earthquakes is not necessarily far-fetched.
Reasonable conjecture has now played its part, we have identified what appears to be a reasonable hypothesis now we must make predictions and collect data we can use to test those predictions.
Unfortunately for Ken and his supporters even a cursory examination of the literature shows that this is a question that has been looked at many times over at least the last 45 years[3,4,5,6] and further back than than 100 years. Each time the results have been either negative or shown an increase in frequency of earth quakes so small as to be useless as a predictive guide.
Data has been collated from thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of earthquake events at various faultlines around the world over decades worth of recorded data. Were there to be a significant correlation between earth tidal forces caused by the Moon (or the Earth/Moon/Sun system for some analyses) then this would have been evident from the published data. That scientists would keep this quiet merely in order to ridicule Ken (or keep the status quo or retain funding or whatever the current conspiracy theory is) simply begars belief.
This is a mind set reminiscent of the alternative medicine crowd or the cold fusion fringe. That “Scientists” are dogmatic, grant chasing, self important and self aggrandising puppets of the NWO seems to be a recurring theme when evidence doesn’t go their way. If this method of predicting earthquakes held up to scrutiny then thousands of lives could be saved, surely only the most far-gone of conspiracy theorists can convince themselves that the scientific community is this indifferent to human life.
In conclusion- Scientists: 1 ; Ken Ring: 0.
1. Go there now, it’s much more interesting than what follows.
2. As above note, and if I’ve missed any – sorry.
3. Simpson, John F. (1967) Earth tides as a triggering mechanism for earthquakes, John F.
Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume 2, Issue 5, August 1967, 473-478
4. Hartzell, S. H., and Heaton, T. H. (1989). The fortnightly tide and the tidal triggering of earthquakes.
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 79, 1282-1286.
5. Vidale, J. E., Agnew, D. C., Johnston, M. J. S., and Oppenheimer, D. H. (1998). Absence of earthquake correlation with Earth tides: An indication of high preseismic fault stress rate. Journal of Geophysical Research 103, 24567-24572.
6. Kennedy, M., Vidale, J. E., Parker, M.G. (2004). Earthquakes and the Moon; Syzygy Predictions Fail the Test
Seismological Research Letters; September/October 2004; v. 75; no. 5; p. 607-612
7. Schuster, A. (1897). On lunar and solar periodicities of earthquakes.
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 61, 455-465.
Reference from “Earthquakes and the Moon; Syzygy Predictions Fail the Test” footnote #6
8. Scare quotes as these people are obviously referring to figments of their imagination, instead of real live human beings not unlike themselves. An impersonal boogyman is what is required.
[EDITED: 3/3/11 16:44pm, for my poor grammar]