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Number of sunspots vs earthquakes. Is there a connection?

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posted on Sep, 23 2009 @ 11:01 PM
Here it goes.

I read somewhere that there might be a relationship between solar activity and earthquakes but couldn’t find any research been done about this subject. So I said to myself “Hmm… this would be interesting”

First, the theory

“A sunspot is an area on the Sun's surface (photosphere) that is marked by intense magnetic activity, which inhibits convection, forming areas of reduced surface temperature.”
The number of sunspots, solar flares and irradiance follow an 11-year cycle, (that is changes in behavior of the Sun) and right now we are at the end of the cycle. This means the magnetic activity is at its minimum. This has been studied for centuries, and we have records for the past 400 years (that’s right, 400!)

“An earthquake (also known as a tremor or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves.”
We all know what a quake is, but why do they happen? Its energy released in the form of sound and movement, because of the movement of tectonic plates (crust). They move constantly and crash against each other every day. Why do they move? They move because of fluctuations in the magma underneath them, and we can’t predict it.

The question

So can the sun’s magnetic activity (or lack of it) influence the movement of the tectonic plates and earthquakes as a result of it?
This might not sound so strange, because the last years we’ve seen some mayor quake events with thousands of lives and billions of dollars lost, and thanks to the media we can follow the how events progress from day one.
We’ve also read about the latest solar activity. The number of sunspots this year is cero, it’s the minimum recorded since 1912 but it’s not so uncommon, because the sun is at the end of its 11 year cycle.
Is there influence of the sun’s magnetic activity over tectonics and earthquakes?

The data

I found the records of number of sunspots at:

For the earthquakes, I used the charts from USGS, I only used data from quakes over 6.0

First I had to use the same timeframe and made two charts, one since 1753 to 2008 ant the second for the last 100 years.
The left axis is the number of quakes above 6.0
The right axis is the number of sunspots (SSN) recorded

(I'm sorry, can't get to show the graphs in the thread, please use the links)

At first (1750-1900) seems like there is a connection between the end of cycles and number of quakes, but this could be explained because at that time there were not enough seismographs (if there were any!) to record all the events, but from 1900 the figure is very different.
So let’s look in detail:


The first thing we all see is the spike on number of quakes in recent years (THAT I can’t explain), but going back to our research, we can easily see there are years with some quakes 1954, 1965 and low solar activity (this could prove the hypothesis) but also there are almost no quakes 1986, 1996 with low solar activity.

The conclusion

Based on the graphs above, I have to say there is NO proof of a connection between SSN and earthquakes. I would have loved to say there IS, but when you do some research (very superficial in this case), the truth comes to light.

Thanks for reading.

Next time I'll try to add "Solar Flares" to the equation or some other data that may seem important.


posted on Sep, 23 2009 @ 11:26 PM
Mods, please feel free to move this thread where you think convenient =)

posted on Sep, 23 2009 @ 11:31 PM
reply to post by Jechu

Hi Jechu,

I'm pretty sure that you came to the right conclusion all on your own about earthquakes and sunspots.

Are you still living down there in Lima, Peru Jechu? I'll bet it's beautiful down there. How are the earthquakes treating you down there? Soon earthquakes will be forecast along side of the weather all over the world and the earthquake forecasts will be very accurate.

[edit on 23-9-2009 by RussianScientists]

posted on Sep, 24 2009 @ 12:46 AM
Since you did not cite the source of your research have you by chance looked at this information?

What lies beneath a sunspot.

This is interesting too.

Earthquake Alarm

And this .

Change in magnetic field as a earthquake warning.

Michael Mandeville has done extensive research on this subject of earthquakes,earth wobble and sunspots.

The changes in the earth.

[edit on 24-9-2009 by calcoastseeker]

[edit on 24-9-2009 by calcoastseeker]

posted on Sep, 24 2009 @ 01:00 AM
While the historical sunspot data is pretty good, the data for earthquakes is not. Until fairly recently there were not many seismographs on the planet. That can be seen by the dramatic increase in reports in the mid 1990's. More seismographs and better communications (the internet) result in more data.

Also the data you used for earthquakes is not complete it is sort of a "greatest hits" collection.

Selected earthquakes of general historic interest.

There are a great many more earthquakes than are on that list. You can get a detailed list here of recorded earthquake since 1973, but again, the earlier the data, the less complete it is.

posted on Sep, 24 2009 @ 09:36 AM
Yes, I still live in Lima. The funny thing is that we "regularly" get quakes (around mag. 4.0) on May and October. October is the month of a the famous religious procession of "Señor de los milagros" or "Señor de los temblores" or "Lord of the tremors". They are doing it at Miami, Washington and Madrid also.
Those are the months in which the weather starts to change from summer to winter and from winter to spring. So yes, I think weather (earthly or cosmic) can influence the occurance of quakes.
In this case sunspots don't seem to be a good source.

Thanks calcoastseeker and Phage for the info, I'll check it out as soon as I can.


posted on Sep, 24 2009 @ 09:58 AM
Taking into account Chaos Theory which we hold relevant to Earthquakes as we percieve them to be unpredictable, it could so be that there a term of Fractal Geometry that we have yet to understand. The principle is that all chaos has a preconcieved notion, in that everything happens as a result of or due to some force opposite of itself.

My best bet is that recent studies towards Volcanism has shown that Lunar Pull has a pronounced effect on the timings of some of the eruptions across the world, with the most frequent happening at Full Moon and Spring Tides. Now Seismology and Volcanism and closely tied as they both share similar Tectonical Boundarys (not taking into account post-glacial quakes) but with some further study it wouldnt help seeing if Lunar Phases are having some sort of influence on Earthquake timings and Magnitudes, it may also help to predict where certain fracture points are going to split in a certain area.

posted on Sep, 26 2009 @ 11:30 AM
reply to post by Jechu

Actually Jechu, someone needs to start up a thread about Sun Spot Activity VS. Hurrican Activity; that is where the "REAL CORRELATIONS OCCUR".

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