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Q & A: Effect of moon's gravity on earthquakes

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Most recent answer: 08/11/2015
Q:
I assume the spin of the Earth distorts the planet at the equator. The moon acts as a drag on the Earth's spin slowing the spin of the Earth slightly. The Earth should be becoming less distorted at the equator as it slows. Could earthquakes be triggered as the Earths shape changes? Could the tug of the moon lead to heating in the Earth's core?
- Richard Kerr (age 69)
San Francisco,CA USA
A:

Hello Richard,

Yes the moon distorts the earth but there is only very weak evidence of increased earthquakes associated with the lunar tides.  When the earth and moon eventually become orbitally locked, way in the future, there will be even less of an effect.

According to Wikipedia 

the current energy loss is due to the oceans sloshing around and has a value of  about 3.3 TeraWatts.

LeeH

 

 


(published on 08/11/2015)

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