Home Science Snow Super Moon 2020: Can Supermoons trigger earthquakes?

Snow Super Moon 2020: Can Supermoons trigger earthquakes?

A Full Moon is set to peak this weekend, known as a Snow Moon as it comes in the wintery month of February. However, the Moon has the added benefit of being a Supermoon too.

On average, the Moon is 238,000 miles from Earth, but during a Supermoon it can be 221,000 miles away from our planet.

This is because the Moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle and is actually slightly oval.

The fact the Moon is slightly closer to Earth at certain points has led to questions as to whether it can trigger earthquakes.

Theoretically, the closer the Moon is to us, the more our planet is influenced by its slight gravitational pull.

Snow Super Moon 2020: Can Supermoons trigger earthquakes? (Image: GETTY)

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The supermoon will rise this weekend (Image: GETTY)

Some believe this pull can effect the tectonic plates beneath the surface, and lead to earthquakes.

Surprisingly, there is some evidence to support this, but it is few and far between.

A study from Japanese researchers in 2016 read: “The possibility of tidal triggering of earthquakes has been investigated since the 19th century, and numerous studies have examined this topic.

“Statistically significant correlations between seismicity and tidal stress have been discovered using large data sets, but the correlations are generally limited to special regions or circumstances.”

READ MORE: Snow Moon: What is a Snow Moon and when is February’s 2020 Snow Moon?

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February’s moon is known as a Snow Moon (Image: GETTY)

Others, however, disagree.

In 2011, NASA Goddard Space Center chief scientist James Garvin said: “The Earth has stored a tremendous amount of internal energy within its thin outer shell or crust, and the small differences in the tidal forces exerted by the moon (and sun) are not enough to fundamentally overcome the much larger forces within the planet due to convection (and other aspects of the internal energy balance that drives plate tectonics).”

The Snow Moon is the Full Moon in February, and is named after the snow scattered on the freezing ground.

Some Native American tribes named it the Hunger Moon due to the scarce food resources and difficult mid-winter hunting conditions.

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Phases of the moon (Image: EXPRESS)

NASA said: “The Maine Farmer’s Almanac first published ‘Indian’ names for the full Moons in the 1930’s, and according to this almanac, the tribes of what is now the northeastern United States called this the Snow Moon or the Storm Moon because of the heavy snows that fall in this season.”

This full moon will peak on the eves of February 8 and 9.

NASA said on its website: “The Moon will appear full for about three days centred around this time, from Friday evening to Monday morning, making this a full Moon weekend.”

However, as is typical of UK weather in February, the skies may obstruct the view of the Moon.

Cloud is expected to cover the UK for most of the weekend, although skies may be partially clear at times on Friday.

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