Back in 2009 I had read about a theory one seismologist was using to predict earthquakes. It was on the fringes of science and most reputable seismologists discredited it but it intrigued me so I strapped on my tin foil hat and ran my own calculations.
The theory took calculations between three main things: the distance from the Earth to the Sun, the distance from the Earth to the Moon and the size of the tides generated during that period. The greatest strain on the tectonic plates is when the Earth Moon and Sun are completely in line with each other and the risk of earthquake diminishes as the moon and sun move off this axis. When the moon is at a 90º from the sun the effect is lessened.
GRAPHIC BY LA TIMES
The biggest problem with this theory is that the Sun is only at it’s closest position to the Earth during the North American winter which means earthquakes would only happen during the winter…. But, lets say that this is only one small contributing factor to an earthquake and perhaps it has some validity…
So thinking along those lines in October of 2009 I strapped on my tin-foil hat and got to work. After doing some research and crunching some numbers I came up with a date: April 11, 2010. I put it down in my iPhone calendar and told my wife who is used to me coming up with crazy ideas to put it into her datebook as well so I would have a witness to my insanity.
On Easter, April 4 of 2010 we had several friends over for Easter dinner. At approximately 3:40 PST (22:42.22 UTC) A 7.2 earthquake hit 12km SW of Delta, BC Mexico and was felt all the way up to our house in Northern Los Angeles County. Immediately as the chandelier was swinging and our guests began to go into panic mode I swiped to the event I had created and held up my iPhone showing my prediction. Admittedly, I was a week off, and I had told my wife I was calculating a +/- 5 day window – so I was off by at least 2 days. But that was pretty good geologically speaking. After that I dabbled in the theory, but it never panned out so I threw that section of tin foil away and haven’t revisited the theory.
CUT TO: now. With all the noise about the Salton Sea lighting up seismologists were issuing warnings and my wife seemed very vested in this warning.
The geologists were originally saying that this next week 10/3-10/8 would be an increased risk of the Big One, but to be frank they always issue earthquake advisories so I never pay much attention because trying to predict earthquakes is CRAZY…. With her concern I thought I’d look some numbers up.
Here is what I came up with:
The moon averages it’s orbit at 238,855 miles, and it’s furthest distance is 252,088 miles. What you need to know is the distance at it’s CLOSEST: 225,623 miles. The moon will be at an orbit on 10/17/2016 with a distance of 222,628 miles – Yup, the moon on the 17th will be 5 miles from it’s closest orbit, that’s really close! And it will probably hit it’s closest orbit, I just haven’t looked for the exact moment when it will, so lets look at the next factor, the distance to the sun:
On October 17 the Sun will be at 0.9963940458984156 AU, 1 AU means the sun is at it’s average distance – but this is not it’s closest distance, that will occur on 1/1/17. But none the less it’s closer than on July 4 of any given year.
Next I look at the height of the tides:
The tide in Santa Monica will be at 6.5ft, by no means a King Tide, but it is a pretty high tide. If the tide were around or above 9ft then I would be a little more concerned. But with the moon SO close I think there is still some concern and factor that in with the Salton Sea activity I think it’s best to recheck your earthquake kits and make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row.
Once again I say predicting earthquakes is pretty darn crazy and this is only a fun exercise I like to do, but recently a LA times article came out saying that seismologists were beginning to look at this theory as having credibility so taking everything into consideration I’d say we are overdue for a major event and giving a plus or minus 5 day window October 17, 2016 looks pretty viable. Here is an article which talks about the recent study analyzing the data on the San Andreas fault.