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
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.
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?
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.
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.