Breaking News
More () »

Is there such a thing as earthquake weather?

There’s a science lore out there about earthquake weather, but is that really a thing?

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — We’ve talked about conditions in the atmosphere on earth and even space weather, but what about conditions just below our surface? There’s a science lore out there about earthquake weather, but is that really a thing? 

The origin of this stems as far back as Ancient Greece. Back during the 4th Century B.C., several philosophers had a few theories on earthquake generation, but Philosopher Aristotle had written work in which he believed earthquakes were caused by winds trapped in subterranean caves trying to escape out. 

Based off the “data” he collected he theorized that because there would be a lot of air trapped underground, that the weather would be hot and calm before an earthquake. Later on, he added that it would happen during calm and cloudy conditions, with everything from strong winds, fireballs and even meteors happening before an event.

Of course we now know the science behind these tremors. Thanks to seismology, or the study of earthquakes, we know that masses of rock in the Earths’ crust called tectonic plates can trigger them. Where the plates meet is where we find these cracks or fault lines. 

Sometimes these plates grind against each other and create all this built-up pressure until they suddenly slip, causing the ground to tremble. 

According to the U.S. Geological Survey there isn’t enough data to support the connection between earthquakes and weather. They do acknowledge that there have been instances where large changes in atmospheric pressure caused by major storms like hurricanes can trigger what they call “slow earthquakes.” 

These are not the standard earthquakes that lead to shaking though, and the data on them triggering large damaging earthquakes they say are “not statically significant.” 

Although we can’t predict when a major earthquake will occur, there are some forms of human induced earthquakes that do occur on smaller scales.

Examples of these include changes in reservoir water levels which change the amount of stress loads on the faults around them, and earthquakes induced by fluid injection deep in the surface like fracking.