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Solar Flares DO NOT Cause Earthquakes

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posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 12:39 PM
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First let us pose the science question we wish to answer: do solar flares cause earthquakes? Note that this is more specific than asking ‘is there a relationship between solar activity and earthquakes?’. First of all, solar activity can mean flares, or coronal mass ejections, or bursts of solar wind. Here I will focus only on flares, but do bear in mind that flares and CMEs often occur in tandem. Secondly, we are asking if flares CAUSE earthquakes; not whether a LACK of flares cause earthquakes. If flares do indeed cause earthquakes then we would expect to see a positive correlation between flares occurring and earthquakes occurring. If a lack of flares cause earthquakes, then we would expect a negative (or anti-) correlation.

For this experiment I have downloaded data from all known earthquakes from 1980 to the present day. This data is publicly available from the United States Geological Survey website (USGS). Here I must point out that I am not a seismologist – I have merely gathered together the dates and magnitudes of all known earthquakes greater than 4 on the Richter scale from the past 30 years. A list of all the solar flares from the last 30 years is also available from NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC). Below is the plot I made which shows the occurrence rate of both solar flares (in blue) and earthquakes (in red). (Anyone with a basic understanding of Excel, a little curiosity, and a bit of patience, can try this for themselves.) You can see that solar flares come and go with each solar cycle (approximately every 11 years), whereas earthquakes appear to occur continuously, with no obvious pattern. There are large (magnitude>7) earthquakes both at solar maximum and solar minimum. This to me would be evidence enough that flares and earthquakes are not related. But let us go a step further. What would something that IS correlated with solar activity look like?




For the next plot, I have gathered together data on the appearance of sunspots over the same 30 year period (www.ngdc.noaa.gov...; I happen to have access to a lot of solar data!). By overlaying the occurrence of solar flares on this plot, we can clearly see that the number of flares rises and falls with the number of sunspots (the orange curve), again every 11 years or so. I would call this a pretty strong case for proving that flares are in someway related to sunspots (which of course we know they are, as we can see flares occurring in regions of intense magnetic field on the Sun).





I have also been looking at data on ionospheric disturbances here on earth as part of my own research (again, this data is publicly available via the Stanford University website sid.stanford.edu...). I selected a day in which I knew there was significant solar activity (in this case, 18 February 2011) and plotted the solar activity for that day (top panel) against the corresponding changes in the upper atmosphere above Austria (bottom panel). This clearly shows that at least five of the flares that day (denoted by the vertical dashed red lines) had a direct impact on the ionosphere. Again, this suggests a causal relationship between solar activity and atmospheric disturbances; something not seen in the earthquake data.





But these are large-scale statistical studies. What if there was one ‘perfect solar storm’ that happened to slip through the net? Would that then have any geological effects? Well, what is a solar flare exactly? The data I have used in the above plots are from X-ray sensors onboard the GOES series of satellites. So flares are essentially just that; increases in X-ray emission (and sometimes gamma-rays). There is, of course, increased emission from across the spectrum: radio, optical, UV, and infrared. Thankfully, the Earth’s atmosphere protects us by absorbing the vast majority of this radiation, as shown by the plot of ionospheric disturbances above. The only solar emission that makes it to the surface is visible light that we can see with our eyes, and radio emission (see figure below). So barely any of this X-ray light makes it through the atmosphere, let alone to beneath the surface to where earthquakes occur. Similarly, CMEs are essentially clouds of charged particles which get deflected by our magnetic field and rarely make it to the surface. And given that the Earth’s magnetic field has a strength similar to that of a household fridge magnet, any fluctuations caused by a CME impact cannot influence the motion of tectonic plates which carry entire continents!





Of course, there are more sophisticated data analysis techniques and correlation tracking algorithms available compared to that which I have presented here. So if you feel that my rather simplistic approach has failed to reveal a potential relationship between solar and geological activity, then I urge you to sift through the data for yourself. This is how science works, which is why I have included links to the pages where I obtained my data so you may repeat the experiment for yourself if you choose, in order to verify or refute my conclusions. But simply noting that a solar flare and an earthquake occurred together within a short time frame does not imply that one caused the other. In the words of renowned astronomer Richard Carrington, “One swallow does not a summer make”.*Finally, as solar activity continues to increase during the rise of the current solar cycle, expected to peak around 2013, here is a statement from the USGS themselves on whether earthquakes are really on the increase or not as well (earthquake.usgs.gov...):


www.thesuntoday.org...

There is no evidence to support the fact that Solar Flares cause Earthquakes. As said in the report Earthquakes 7+ have occurred during a low solar max, or when there is no large solar flare bombarding the Earth.


edit on 8-3-2012 by PageAlaCearl because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 12:50 PM
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Thank you.


I was going to pull data like this after work but now I dont have to.

S & F



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 12:51 PM
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Paging...

PHAGE!




posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 12:55 PM
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Of course solar flares don't cause earthquakes! Nibiru does! I thought everyone knew that.



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 01:06 PM
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Originally posted by underduck
Thank you.


I was going to pull data like this after work but now I dont have to.

S & F


No problem, just wanted to add some science to some unnecessary fear mongering going on about Earthquakes and solar flares. Every time the sun farts there's a new doomsday prediction.



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 01:14 PM
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Originally posted by PageAlaCearl

Originally posted by underduck
Thank you.


I was going to pull data like this after work but now I dont have to.

S & F


No problem, just wanted to add some science to some unnecessary fear mongering going on about Earthquakes and solar flares. Every time the sun farts there's a new doomsday prediction.


Seems more like everytime the sun rises there is a new doomsday prediction.



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 02:06 PM
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reply to post by underduck
 


Yea, it's funny how so many people would rather believe a kids rant about an Earthquake this weekend because of solar flares then just search for an explanation on how the two things effect each other.


FAQs - Earthquake Myths

« Previous FAQ | All FAQ's | Next FAQ »
Q: Do solar flares or magnetic storms (space weather) cause earthquakes?

A:

Solar flares and magnetic storms belong to a set of phenomena known collectively as "space weather". Technological systems and the activities of modern civilization can be affected by changing space-weather conditions. However, it has never been demonstrated that there is a causal relationship between space weather and earthquakes. Indeed, over the course of the Sun's 11-year variable cycle, the occurrence of flares and magnetic storms waxes and wanes, but earthquakes occur without any such 11-year variability. Since earthquakes are driven by processes in the Earth's interior, they would occur even if solar flares and magnetic storms were to somehow cease occurring.


It even says on USGS that there is no casual relationship between space weather and earthquake.


earthquake.usgs.gov...



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 02:12 PM
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I did a similar thing a couple of years ago.
www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 02:13 PM
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reply to post by PageAlaCearl
 


Research is hard ... Fear is easy. Personally I think people simply dont want to go to work/school the following day.



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 02:19 PM
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Originally posted by underduck
reply to post by PageAlaCearl
 


Research is hard ... Fear is easy. Personally I think people simply dont want to go to work/school the following day.


I agree, I think and from posts seen, people are almost begging for disaster like it will be a fix for them but the truth is if life is bad now when the s*** hits the fan it going to be 10 times worse. I like my life, there have been struggles but I would never want to see thing go to hell or get worse.



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 02:20 PM
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Originally posted by Phage
I did a similar thing a couple of years ago.
www.abovetopsecret.com...



Somehow it didnt stick.



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 02:20 PM
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Originally posted by Phage
I did a similar thing a couple of years ago.
www.abovetopsecret.com...


Amazing thread with great data, sorry I missed that one! I would have just referenced your thread instead of digging through the internet to find some clarity on the Earthquake/Solar Flare debate. Thanks!
edit on 8-3-2012 by PageAlaCearl because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 02:23 PM
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reply to post by PageAlaCearl
 


I agree. As much as I would like to think it would be fun to escape to the woods and spend my days fishing and looking for food. That isnt going to be how it goes. That is what camping is for. Then when I am done/tired/or hungry I can come back to civilization watch a baseball game, eat hot dogs and drink beer. Its a pretty sweet existence if you ask me.



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 02:30 PM
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I dont know if there is a cause and effect, but neither do you.
Earth time & Human time may not be the same.
Just because an earthquake doesn't register the moment, day or even days
after a solar event does not mean there wasn't a correlation . Maybe a week
is a quick result for the Earth. The headline is as presumptuous as stating
"Solar flares cause earthquakes". We don't know.



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 02:32 PM
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Originally posted by sealing
I dont know if there is a cause and effect, but neither do you.
Earth time & Human time may not be the same.
Just because an earthquake doesn't register the moment, day or even days
after a solar event does not mean there wasn't a correlation . Maybe a week
is a quick result for the Earth. The headline is as presumptuous as stating
"Solar flares cause earthquakes". We don't know.


Using that logic we dont know anything. Which might be true but defeats the whole purpose of pay attention to begin with.



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 02:35 PM
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reply to post by underduck
 



There are way too many mechanisms at work.
This is what I'm getting at. Not that we should drop all studies.
The Op's headline is way too far in Blanket statement land.



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 02:37 PM
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reply to post by sealing
 


Ok ... so if the title throws you off you may like Phage's research into the very same subject some time ago.

www.abovetopsecret.com...
edit on 8-3-2012 by underduck because: typo



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 02:45 PM
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Originally posted by sealing
I dont know if there is a cause and effect, but neither do you.
Earth time & Human time may not be the same.
Just because an earthquake doesn't register the moment, day or even days
after a solar event does not mean there wasn't a correlation . Maybe a week
is a quick result for the Earth. The headline is as presumptuous as stating
"Solar flares cause earthquakes". We don't know.


USGS knows but we don't know.......earthquake.usgs.gov...

Look at the charts there is 7+'s at solar minimum and the solar minimum continues on for weeks then solar maximum (solar flare) for a few days and no worthy earthquakes for weeks.

The solar flare in March 2011 should have been long gone before March 11, 2011 Japan Earthquake


NASA had released reports that the sun had released a massive solar flare or CME just a few days before the 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck Japan. NASA reported that ” on March 10, 2011 around 0630 UT, a CME did strike a glaceing blow to Earth’s magnetic field. This was a result of an M3 flare that occurred late on March 7, 2011.”

NASA’s timing of the solar flare colliding with Earth’s atmosphere suggests that the solar flare caused the Japan earthquake. Even PRESS Core reported that the solar flare may have triggered the Japan earthquake but an investigation of solar flares and their impact on Earth reveals that a solar flare couldn’t have and didn’t cause the Japan earthquake. The solar flare events and NASA warnings were used as a diversion.

According to the USG website the Japan 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck on 2011 March 11 05:46:23 UT. The CME had already struck Earth almost 1 complete day earlier. That would give evidence that the CME impact did not cause the earthquake. How? As we all know, the Earth is constantly rotating. A CME could not have caused the earthquake because of that fact. Earth did not stop rotating, allowing the force of the CME to trigger an earthquake in one spot on Earth at 38.322°N, 142.369°E. A CME can cause widespread power outages, changes in weather patterns or simply create an aurora, but not an earthquake.?


presscore.ca...

Article title 'Scientific Proof that solar flares didn’t cause Japan earthquake'.

There is seriously so much evidence out there but people choose doom instead

edit on 8-3-2012 by PageAlaCearl because: (no reason given)

edit on 8-3-2012 by PageAlaCearl because: (no reason given)

edit on 8-3-2012 by PageAlaCearl because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 02:54 PM
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You can even wiki it....


Solar flares affect all layers of the solar atmosphere (photosphere, chromosphere, and corona), when the medium plasma is heated to tens of millions of kelvins and electrons, protons, and heavier ions are accelerated to near the speed of light. They produce radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum at all wavelengths, from radio waves to gamma rays, although most of the energy goes to frequencies outside the visual range and for this reason the majority of the flares are not visible to the naked eye and must be observed with special instruments. Flares occur in active regions around sunspots, where intense magnetic fields penetrate the photosphere to link the corona to the solar interior. Flares are powered by the sudden (timescales of minutes to tens of minutes) release of magnetic energy stored in the corona. The same energy releases may produce coronal mass ejections (CME), although the relation between CMEs and flares is still not well established.

X-rays and UV radiation emitted by solar flares can affect Earth's ionosphere and disrupt long-range radio communications. Direct radio emission at decimetric wavelengths may disturb operation of radars and other devices operating at these frequencies.


Solar flares affect all layers of the solar atmosphere
X-rays and UV radiation emitted by solar flares can affect Earth's ionosphere

It affects Earth's Atmosphere not Earth Crust's or Plates

en.wikipedia.org...
edit on 8-3-2012 by PageAlaCearl because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 11:43 PM
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Originally posted by Phage
I did a similar thing a couple of years ago.
www.abovetopsecret.com...


Let loose the dogs of nerddom and cry "COPYRIGHT - SEE EXISTING THREAD HERE!"



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