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When sun, moon align
Since the strongest effects were seen when the pull of the moon and the sun was aligned with the direction of the fault's break (Los Angeles toward San Francisco in the case of the San Andreas Fault), the researchers reasoned that water trapped deep underground was the likely explanation for the tremors, lubricating the rock to make it move easier.
The tremors so far have been found in only a relatively small number of fault zones, suggesting that underground water isn't found everywhere.
If the tremors have an effect on the earthquake zone closer to the surface, it's hard to find, Bürgmann said.
Looking for a link
If scientists can find a link between these almost undetectable tremors and the destructive quakes that are geologically inevitable along the huge fault zones that riddle California and other parts of the world, it could help them understand the processes taking place deep below Earth's surface.
"Clearly they are connected, since it's the same fault zone," Bürgmann said in an interview Tuesday. "But how they relate is a question that still has to be answered."
The next step is to expand the research to find other places, particularly in California, where these tremors occur, Nadeau said. There's also a need for more sensitive equipment to take a higher-resolution look at what's happening deep underground.
Significant data to correlate earthquakes in Japan to solar eclipses exist, if we look a few hours before or a few days after a solar eclipse. On March 18 1988 6 hours before the total solar eclipse a 5.4 earth quake occurred in the Setagaya ward of Japan. In 1998 an earthquake of the same magnitude 5.4 took place in the same region a few days after the August solar eclipse.
The interesting thing to note is that there does seem to be a significant correlation between Total Solar Eclipses and Earthquakes in this region over the past decade. A magnitude 6+ earthquake occurred 6 hours before the total solar eclipse in China, October 1995. A magnitude 5+ earthquake occurred 1 hour before the total solar eclipse in China, August 2008
Originally posted by Phage
While it's entirely possible that tidal effects influence earthquakes there is so much "noise" in the signal that it's impossible to come up with any meaningful correlation. It's one thing to say an earthquake occurred during an eclipse but it's another to ignore all the earthquakes which don't, or those which occur at other times.