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New Study Debunks Idea That Moon Phases Produce Big Earthquakes

Huge earthquakes are not significantly influenced by the moon, a new study says.

A commercial jet flies in front of the moon on its approach to Heathrow airport in west London on November 13, 2016. (Credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A commercial jet flies in front of the moon on its approach to Heathrow airport in west London on November 13, 2016. (Credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The study, conducted by U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough, looked at earthquakes of magnitude 8 or greater over the past four centuries. And a review of more than 200 earthquakes demonstrated that there is no connection between the phase of the moon and the time when huge seismic events of magnitude 8 and greater strike.

“That’s obviously a big earthquake myth: that big earthquakes happen on the full moon,” Hough said in an interview. Her study was published Tuesday in the journal Seismological Research Letters, a publication of the Seismological Society of America.

Hough said the myth can gain more attention when a large earthquake strikes on a full moon or when scientific studies show a weak influence on earthquake rates by tidal or other forces.

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