Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Another daft prediction that can easily be tested

James Concannon writes...

        I'm looking forward to the total solar eclipse later this month, not only because they're always a treat to behold, but also because I can test Robert Morningstar's prediction that the eclipse will probably trigger serious earthquakes in central USA and on the New Madrid fault. As I wrote last April, Morningstar is such a dunce at planetary astronomy that he doesn't understand that the Moon is at conjunction once every month without causing 'quakes. Lunar conjunctions do indeed create a very slight additional tidal force but there's no extra tidal force associated with a conjunction that causes an eclipse.

        Now a new prediction is making the rounds, promoted by some surprisingly mainstream publications including the London Daily Telegraph. Nibiru is coming!!!! shouts an author and statistician called David Meade. In a book (which I refuse to provide an easy link to,) Meade pinpoints the date of a catastrophic, probably humanity-destroying, collision. It's 23rd September.

        This, of course, is only the latest in a string of such predictions, and it appears to be based on biblical text as opposed to any actual... you know, observation. Meade writes that observation is problematic, since...
"This system is, of course, not aligned with our solar system's ecliptic, but is coming to us from an oblique angle and toward our South Pole. This makes observations difficult, unless you're flying at a high altitude over South America with an excellent camera."
Note: The above is pure poppycock. Observation of objects out of the ecliptic is done every day, there's nothing hard about it at all, as long as you're in the right hemisphere. According to the inventor of Nibiru, Zecharia Sitchin, it's a "giant planet." So if it is now close enough to be only six weeks from impact, it should be easily visible to the naked eye.

        I've got my calendar marked and I'll be watching the skies, on 21 August and 23 September.


THE Orbs Whiperer said...

Using the Earthquake prediction technique of the late, Jim Berkland, I've predicted several devastating Earthquakes over the past couple of years. Here's a prime example: https://plus.google.com/photos/105129444835385974400/albums/profile/6353290849107243714

James Concannon said...

That doesn't exactly look like a "hit," Thea

Steve said...

George Noory had a guest on Coast to Coast last night that was sputtering nonsense about Planet X and Nemesis, which I guess is another object that will destroy us. He wants people to use their camera phones (preferably the front-facing camera because it's more sensitive to IR, according to the guest) at totality and pan around for 30 seconds or so. When they watch the video, they should magically see Planet X or something. I was in bed and had it on for background noise.

And there was talk about martial law and war with North Korea and lots of other nonsense. The eclipse is a couple weeks away and I guess everyone who is capable of detecting the gravitational influence of two large bodies has been silenced.

Two Percent said...


Morningstar is such a dunce at planetary astronomy that he doesn't understand that the Moon is at conjunction once every month

there's nothing special about a conjunction that causes an eclipse

While I agree with the second quoted comment (in relation to co-planar systems at least), when pointing the finger, one needs to be very careful about the three fingers pointing back at oneself!

Are you not, perchance, confusing "conjunction" and "syzygy"?

According to Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunction_(astronomy)

a conjunction is generally "as viewed from the perspective of Earth" (my words, I think), so is at best a confusing term to use here. As I read it, conjunction generally refers more to visual proximity in the sky, than what Morningstar is referring to.

In contrast, again according to Wikipedia (link at bottom of first linked Wikipedia page), a syzygy "is a straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies in a gravitational system."

This is the scenario which is statisically demonstrated as (only slightly) more likely to trigger earthquakes than the normal rotation and orbiting of the Sun/Earth/Moon system, due to the slightly increased gravitational forces on the (surface of the) Earth due to the alignment of the two significant (from the Earth's 'point of view') gravitational "sources".

Now, if you look at this a little more closely, isn't it true that syzygies (??sp) of the Sun/Earth/Moon system actually occur TWICE a month. Once a month, the Sun and the Moon are "together" on one side of the Earth (at New Moon), so the Earth is experiencing increased gravitational forces in the direction of the sun. Alternately, 2 weeks later, the Moon is "opposite" the Sun (Full Moon), also causing changed "tension" in the Earth's crust, due, if you like, to the Earth being in the middle of a tug-of-war between the Moon and the Sun. This, I think, is evidenced by the heights of the relevant "Spring tides", a discussion of which can also be found on Wikipedia.

Anyway, since merely watching something changes it, I'm sure that with all those eyes turned towards the Moon during the coming eclipse, something unusual is going to happen.

There was another EQ in Sichuan within the past 24 hours, pretty close to "bang on" the Full Moon syzygy. Morningstar may be another woo-peddler, but even a stopped clock points to the right time twice a day... Oh, it that per month?

The Sichuan quake (and more, the 2008 'quake) it seems, may be the result of China's recent construction of many massive hydro dams in the area, altering the forces on the crust.

As for "Sitchin's Nibiru cometh"... Oh, I see, there's an 'h' there that doesn't belong.

You don't state the year. I'm guessing there's a typo somewhere. Must be 2107, right?

Nibiru, supposed host to an ancient, advanced civilisation... Orbiting (out-of-plane?) in the far distant, extremely cold, dark, non-habitable very outer reaches of the Solar System for all of its fanciful existence. Coming soon, (at near light-speed, which is why you can't see it yet, dummy!) to an orbit near you... This close to the sun is going to be disastrous for its ice-bound inhabitants...

We think we've got problems with Global Warming. Too bad Sitchin is no longer alive to elaborate on the viability of this Nibiru twaddle.

vonmazur said...

The only thing about an eclipse that might affect seismic activity is the sudden cooling by the shadow, but even that is problematic....It would be on the surface and not deep enough to affect the faults, in my opinion, anyhow. Most of what that guest said on C2C last night was painful, I had to turn it off and go to the classical music station..

All I had to hear was that Nibiru was in the south, but pictures could be made at sunrise and sunset!!

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

Here's a better example:

...and here:

Two Percent said...

Hi James,

My apologies, upon reflection, I think you are 100% correct, since I guess you can't get a closer conjunction than an eclipse of one by the other...

Unfortunately, Google hasn't found me either source, so I haven't been able to check what either of you actually said, and guess you may already have replied but can't tell due to the practicalities of delayed moderation.

If it's a well-deserved caning, xp@ will be happiness filled. ;-)

The timing of the M6.5 in Sichuan is still interesting, though.

Global Warming is no doubt an additional factor that wasn't present in millenia past, so may be helping amplify gravitational effects.

I await your comments with bated breath!

James Concannon said...

Merriam-Webster sayeth:

syzygy "the nearly straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies (such as the sun, moon, and earth during a solar or lunar eclipse)"

A normal conjunction event at New Moon is not one.

Spring tides have a barely-measurable effect on seismicity in coastal regions, simply because of the abnormal weight of water. They occur at Lunar opposition as well as conjunction, of course.

Yes, the year of the daft prediction is 2017, you may have noticed that I wrote "coming in six weeks." There's no typo.

BTW Expat and I are campaigning against that word "typo." It belongs to the era of hot type. These days there are no typographical errors for the simple reason that there are no typographers. What we frequently see is keyboard errors, fat fingers, or just cock-ups.

James Concannon said...

Afterthought: There are typographers in the sense of people who choose type fonts for printing. Thus a modern typographical error, I suppose, would be an inappropriate font-- like Comic Sans for a warning sign.

Two Percent said...

I prefer your (Merriam-Webster's) definition, being "nearly".

A normal conjunction event at New Moon is not one.

How so? What limits do you place on nearly?

The Lunar orbit is 5.145° off the ecliptic, so almost half the time, at syzygy, it will be less than 2.5° off a straight line. That's close enough for me, to qualify as nearly.

So I stand by what I said about 2 weekly Lunar-Terra-Solar syzygies - though I recognise that you were only referring to half of those, at conjunctions.

As for you & xp@ campaigning against the word "typos" - first I heard of it... ;-)

IMHO, this is an unworthy choice. Typo was only ever slang or "informal" anyway, right? Words, usages and definitions change. Never more than now. AFAIAC, typo now means typing error; an old slang word redefined.

If you want an adulteration of the language to campaign against, how about Top for North, and Bottom for South? I hear this invariably in weather forecasts, and regularly imagine warm, sunny weather on our mountain tops. No wonder we have Global Warming.

Hopefully, this will backfire, and will simply lead people to recognise the joke that weather forecasting is - as is plainly reflected in their incompetent use of incorrect words to identify locations. Yeah, I know, it's a faint hope. The average person is not that smart; they will just follow like sheep.

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

The Solar eclipse on Moonday, August 21st, 2017, will be an occurrence of Syzygy and near Perigee. The next Lunar, Perigee, will be on Aug 18, 2017 at 3:19 am with a distance of, 227,497 miles from the Earth. There is a high probability of devastating Earthquakes in the Midwest and with a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest. A 6.4 magnitude
quake used to be designated as devastating, but as the occurrence of those became more numerous, the USGS raised the threshold of devastating quakes to 7.2. There well might be a 9.2 along the Juan de Fuca Plate, off the coast of Washington, State.

James Concannon said...

« How so? What limits do you place on nearly? »

Until now I hadn't thought about it. But let's arbitrarily define a Sun-Earth-Moon syzygy as an alignment that produces an eclipse, if only partial. How's that?

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

Jim Berkland discovered that the weight of water on tectonic plates at fault lines, exerts pressure like the lid on a, Jack-in-the-Box. When the tide goes out from shore, the shallow water weight may become reduced enough to allow the plate to suddenly rise, thus causing an Earthquake and possible resulting tsunami. The closer the Moon to Perigee, especially during Syzygy, creates the most gravitational pull on tides.

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

The word, SYZYGY, is in your dictionary, surprisingly enough. It refers to an alignment of celestial bodies, primarily the Sun, Moon, and Earth, and it happens twice a month at the time of a new or full Moon. At such times, the gravitational forces are in line, and the ocean tides (as well as the solid Earth tides) are at a maximum, especially if the bodies are close together. The Earth and Moon are closest (at perigee) once a month; the Earth and Sun are closest (perihelion) once a year in early January. Thus the most extreme gravitational stress on the Earth's crust and oceans must occur in early January, if a syzygy and perigee occur on the same day. The optimum such example in 600 years was on January 4, 1912, when syzygy and perigee were only six minutes apart. On that day the strongest quake (5.5M) in California/Nevada in two years occurred near Bishop, California. Under less extreme conditions but within a day of syzygy we find such notable earthquakes as: Long Beach, CA(1933), Tehachapi, CA(1952), Olympia, WA (1949), Hebgen Lake, MT (1959), Anchorage, Alaska (1964), San Fernando, CA(1971), Tangshan, China (1976), Eureka, CA(1980), Landers, CA(1992), and Kobe, Japan (1995). The World Series Earthquake was publicly predicted by this method when the maximum tidal force in two years occurred on October 14, 1989, less than four days before the devastating 7.1M quake. The Seattle Quake of January 28, 1995 was predicted on Seattle television and radio less than six days before the strongest Seattle shaker in 30 years struck on January 28, 1995, the day after perigee and two days before New Moon.

In 1995 (through July) Seismic Windows helped predict the three strongest earthquakes in western Washington, the three strongest in the S. F. Bay area, and 12 of the 14 major earthquakes in the world. If someone tells you that earthquakes cannot be predicted, don't believe them. Try it yourself, anyone can do it. (the hard part is being right.)



THE Orbs Whiperer said...

Most high school graduates, having had at least one science class, learned that a cubic foot of fresh water at standard conditions of temperature and pressure weighs 62.4 pounds. That fact may have little impact on you unless you have carried buckets of water for livestock, or for landscape irrigation, or for camping, or have packed "Indian tanks" on your back for firefighting. I have participated in all of those activities and I have a healthy respect for water weight.

As a geologist I have appreciated the importance of underground water pore-pressure in de-stabilizing hill slopes, and I have participated with engineers and other geologists in preparing plans and procedures for controlling concentrations of water to prevent damage of various kinds to both natural landscapes and artificial constructions.

In relatively recent years it has been recognized that water can be an important factor relative to triggering earthquakes, although each step along the way has been highly controversial at the outset. Now it is generally accepted that pumping fluids in or out of deep wells can stimulate earthquakes. Often construction of large dams and reservoirs is also associated with subsequent earthquakes (R.I.S.), even in areas that have been historically stable.
Similarly there are a number of significant papers in the scientific literature that show clear correlations between earthquakes and local flooding or unusually heavy and prolonged precipitation.

Furthermore, the rhythmic oscillations of tide waters have been studied as another means of triggering earthquakes in Coastal areas. Several hundred articles in the world's scientific literature have explored this mechanism, along with the undulatory effects of "earth tides" that affect the interiors of continents, more than a thousand miles from the seashore.

These tidal effects are mainly the result of the phases of the Moon, although the Sun contributes about 42 per cent to the range of ocean tides. When the Earth is in a tug-of-war between the Sun and Moon, the earth tides can attain three feet, and in sea coast areas of unusual topography, such as in the Bay of Fundy, the ocean tides can range more than 50 feet in a six hour period. (Contrast this with the island shores of the mid-Pacific, where tides may range less than two feet.)
All this talk of water loading and unloading needs a quantitative basis for clear understanding. There is no question that the crust of the Earth behaves elastically and massive ice sheets depresses it many hundreds of feet. In fact, in Scandinavia and Canada where continental glaciers exceeded two miles in thickness as recently as 12,000 to 18,000 years ago, the solid crust is still slowly rising in response to relief from the great load of ice.

[continues below]

THE Orbs Whiperer said...


At the Golden Gate, where a normal range in daily tide is four to five feet, the daily difference between high and low tide often exceeds eight feet at the time of a new or full Moon (syzygy.) The range may reach 8.5 to 9.2 feet on the rare occasions when a syzygy occurs on the same day as the monthly closest approach of the Moon to the Earth (perigee.) This rare event takes place only from two to five times per year and the maximum gravitational force between 1600 AD and 2200 AD took place at such a time on January 4, 1912, the day of the strongest West Coast earthquake in two years. Was this just coincidence? Let us analyze some forces that may cause old Mother Earth to "slip a disk" (or a plate?):

One acre = 43,560 sq. ft. ; One acre-foot of water = 43,560 cu. ft.; x 62.4 lbs./cubic foot = 2,714,439 lbs. = 1,357.22 tons

One square mile =640 acres; 640 x 1,357.22 tons = 868,620 tons/ ft. (of pure water)

Sea water (specific gravity 1.035) weighs more. 1.03.5 x 868,620 = 899,022 tons/sq. mi. (per foot of sea-water). In addition, for each foot of cold turbid sea-water (maximum density at 39.4F), the load for each square mile would be about 920,000 tons. To make it memorable, I refer to the loading as "nearly 1 million tons per square mile."
Now look at the 500 square miles of the San Francisco Bay and Delta, where eight to nine feet of saline water surges back and forth within a six-hour cycle:
9 ft. x 500 sq. mi. x 1 million tons equals a rapid load change totaling about 4.5 BILLION tons No wonder Mother Earth occasionally slips a disk in the San Francisco Bay Area!

By: James O. Berkland


THE Orbs Whiperer said...

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
1700 Cascadia earthquake

The 1700 Cascadia earthquake occurred along the Cascadia subduction zone on January 26 with an estimated moment magnitude of 8.7–9.2.[2] The megathrust earthquake involved the Juan de Fuca Plate that underlies the Pacific Ocean, from mid-Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, south along the Pacific Northwest coast as far as northern California. The length of the fault rupture was about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) with an average slip of 20 meters (66 ft).

The earthquake caused a tsunami that struck the coast of Japan,[3] and may also be linked to the Bonneville Slide and the Tseax Cone eruption in British Columbia.[4]

Scientific research

The most important clue linking the tsunami in Japan and the earthquake in the Pacific Northwest comes from studies of tree rings (dendrochronology), which show that several "ghost forests" of red cedar trees in Oregon and Washington, killed by lowering of coastal forests into the tidal zone by the earthquake, have outermost growth rings that formed in 1699, the last growing season before the tsunami.[6] This includes both inland stands of trees, such as one on the Copalis River in Washington,[6] and pockets of tree stumps that are now under the ocean surface and become exposed only at low tide.[7]

Sediment layers in these locations demonstrate a pattern consistent with seismic and tsunami events occurring around this time.[8] Core samples from the ocean floor, as well as debris samples from some earthquake-induced landslides in the Pacific Northwest, also support this timing of the event.[7] Archaeological research in the region has uncovered evidence of several coastal villages having been flooded and abandoned around 1700.[9]


THE Orbs Whiperer said...

If the Juan de Fuca Plate becomes activated, bear in mind that fault lines connect to the San Andreas.

Two Percent said...


But let's arbitrarily define a Sun-Earth-Moon syzygy as an alignment that produces an eclipse, if only partial.

Naaaah. Let's not!

How's that?

Arbitrary. Unscientific. Highly inconsistent.

Consider three Solar scenarios:

1: Earth - Moon
2: Venus - Mars
3: Jupiter - Any Jovian moon

Do I need to explain the problem with your "partial eclipse" proposal??

I propose a <2% misalignment!


Bill Belcher said...

A prediction ! Where's SDM when you need him!

expat said...

« If the Juan de Fuca Plate becomes activated, bear in mind that fault lines connect to the San Andreas. »

No, don't bear it in mind. The boundary between the Juan de Fuca plate and the North American plate is a subduction zone. Movement there is what created the Cascade volcanoes. The San Andreas, although its northern extremity is right there, is a strike/slip fault. Not the same thing at all. No volcanoes--geddit?

« Where's SDM when you need him! »

That's what the District Court would like to know.

Two Percent said...

Hi there Orbs Whisperer,

Thanks for your very informative posts. I'll accept what you report regarding the history of so many 'quakes. I have often thought there must be connections, but never really looked into it. Science is so fascinating, and Earthquake Science equally so.

However, we dull humans have not really made much progress with EQ prediction. That said, I believe it will be much better in future, when we apply a method currently being trialed, globally.

However, I have to respond to one unfortunate comment you make:

Try it yourself, anyone can do it. (the hard part is being right.)

Isn't "being right" the whole idea? You know the story of the little boy who cried wolf?

AFAIAC, there is no point being able to predict a time, if you can't predict the location. Fact is, there are Earthquakes every day on this living planet. So I can say there's going to be a Mag X.y Earthquake in the next 24 hours, and be sure that I am going to be proved right. That's simple statistics, NOT prediction.

The same, I suspect, could be said for syzygy-related quakes. To me, there seems an undeniable connection. THE PROBLEM, ok, the problems are:

1. Predicting whether or not, THIS syzygy;
2. Predicting where;
3. Predicting the magnitude.

I note that you are very specific regarding Magnitude, less so, location, and even less so, time. I have seen you quote +/- 10 days, previously. IMHO, that's not prediction, and not syzygy-related either. To elaborate, +/- 10 days is a span of 20 days. The Lunar cycle is 27-odd days, so, at either end of the 20 day range, you are actually in the early and late phases of the preceding and succeeding syzygies. On that basis, you might as well forget syzygies?

Regarding Magnitude, surely predicting M6.4 (and M9.2 especially) is demonstrating False Precision? How can you possibly predict THAT accurately? M9 quakes are extremely rare. So a casual

There well might be a 9.2 along the Juan de Fuca Plate, off the coast of Washington, State.

is pretty difficult to accept as plausible. Anyone can make that kind of comment. Why M9.2, precisely?

Finally, in terms of location, just because the Moon is directly overhead surely doesn't mean that's where any related quake is going to occur? The Earth's crust is brittle. It is being flexed every day, by tides, and by the sun's and the moon's gravities (as you rightly say), and twice every month by syzygies. The magma beneath the surface is in constant, slow movements. Global Warming must also be a factor, slowing causing the crust to expand. And every day, at scattered places in the crust, Earthquakes release elements of crustal tension. Lots of small quakes are good, if they allow the plates to move where they want to, instead of remaining stuck, so that huge forces build up, before the rocks in question finally break, releasing a large amount of energy all at once, in a sudden massive quake.

The point is that all these small quakes "do something". They are part of the overall picture. They release tension in their area. That, effectively means that the remaining crustal tension (vectors) move. A release here causes an increase somewhere else.

Surely, that is the real problem, and what makes prediction so nearly impossible.

I say, sure, syzygies are a factor. But where a quake will occur depends on where the current tension points are. Surely, it's going to be one of those that breaks next, under the additional pressure generated by the syzygy? But which one, and where is it?

In reality, the next syzygy-generated quake could be at 90° (or any angle) to the line of the syzygy. No?

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

The San Andreas Fault runs West off shore and connects to a series of faults which connect to the Juan de Fuca Plate. Maybe that connection won't transfer energy.


Also, Berkland often used to caution that a seismic window can open plus or minus ten days of the celestial event. The greater the magnitude - the longer the delay; before or after Syzygy and Perigee.

Go back and listen to Jim Berkland on Coast to Coast AM.

Two Percent said...

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

If the Juan de Fuca Plate becomes activated

Whaddyamean, activated? Isn't it activated, 24x365.25...?

Isn't it busily being squeezed by the Pacific Plate, continuously?

Actually, when you look at it, the whole Pacific Northwest is one "Helluva" place to locate a huge population and build a mass of associated infrastructure. The so-called Juan de Fuca Plate is really just a plate fragment, a remnant of a much bigger plate, which has slowly been recycled into the furnace. Being so narrow, it would be much more prone to sudden large movements, especially lateral tilting, which could be expected to create huge tsunamis.


Not the same thing at all. No volcanoes--geddit?

Nope, I dun geddit.

Why wouldn't the movement of one fault, which happens to intersect/meet with another fault, transfer pressure(s) onto (or away from) the second fault? Isn't the very fact that the faults meet, proof of past movements? I don't think you can say that because the faults are of different natures, that they are independent.

That would be like saying that applying pressure to my left-side bicycle pedal does not create forces in the right-side crank bearing and, likely, in the drive chain.

Maybe, in slow geologic terms, it's like what happens when a mouse pushes down the "dinner" plate on a loaded mouse trap:

1. The bait plate moves down, then;
2. The release arm rotates up, then;
3. The "Reaper" frame rotates around, then;
4. Mouse Evolution nudges forward another micron.

If you look at the shape of the Western boundary of the Juan de Fuca Plate, it's easy to see why a second slip-strike fault on its other edge might be "necessary". Therefore, I conclude, they are related, but not necessarily in-synch. One may move much more frequently than the other, depending on a host of factors.

Actually, I think Orbs is right. FOLLOWING a movement of the Pacific Plate - Juan de Fuca Plate fault(s), a movement of the San Andreas fault becomes more likely.

Orbs, does history bear this out?

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

As far as history is concerned, all I can say is that Jim Berkand used to predict on such similar occasions as this, the the San Andreas could potentially spread an Earthquake to the Juan de Fuca Plate. He has about an eighty percent hit rate. Hopefully, nothing will happen.

James Concannon said...

« Go back and listen to Jim Berkland on Coast to Coast AM »

No way in hell am I going to do that. The idea that a West > East plate movement triggers a North > South movement makes no sense to me. I don't know if it's ever happened and I'm not willing to do the research.

You guys are somehow missing my main point -- which is, that there's no more reason to fear seismic events during an eclipse than during any old New Moon which is a monthly happening.

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

The difference between any old, New Moon, and an eclipse, is as Jim Berkland has proven, that more Earthquakes occur when Perigee is concurrent with Syzygy. He has already done the research for you, James.

James Concannon said...

Perigee and eclipse are totally independent. Try again.

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

As noted above, Perigee is on August 18th, 2017, with Syzygy on August 21st, 2017. That's close enough to intensify gravitational effect on tides.

James Concannon said...

As it happens perigee is 18th August, fairly close--but that in no way weakens my main point that, in terms of tidal forces, a solar eclipse is no more powerful than any other conjunction event.

James Concannon said...

« That's close enough to intensify gravitational effect on tides. »

If unusual seismic activity actually occurs,blame the perigee/syzygy not the eclipse.

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

Where did I ever blame the eclipse, James? That's why I said what I said, that Jim Berkland has proven that there are more Earthquakes during concurrent Perigee with Syzygy.

Now, just in case you think that Syzygy has no effect, consider the gravitational effect of the Sun. Naysayers might try to argue that it's negligible, but what if planets were to stop orbiting the Sun, for instance? Wouldn't the planets be drawn into, old, Sol?

So, when you have a conjunction of the Sun and the Moon, before the Earth, the Sun's gravitational pull is added to the Moon's increased gravitational pull on the tides at Perigee.

James Concannon said...

Gravitational attraction Sun-Earth: 3.6 x 10^22 newtons
Gravitational attraction Moon-Earth: 0.0189 x 10^22 newtons

James Concannon said...

I can do better...

Gravitational attraction Moon-Earth at apogee: 0.01783 x 10^22 newtons
Gravitational attraction Moon-Earth at perigee: 0.02237 x 10^22 newtons

This is kinda swamped by the solar force of 3.6 x 10^22 newtons, 160 times greater at perigee

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

Furthermore, not all Syzygy is alike. An Syzygy of Earth with Pluto and Neptune would have far less gravitational effect, than one between Earth, Earth's Moon, and the Sun. So to just say Syzygy isn't specific enough. However, an total Solar eclipse, is an specific, Syzygy which does produce a greater gravitational effect, especially at Perigee.

James Concannon said...

« an total Solar eclipse, is an specific, Syzygy which does produce a greater gravitational effect »

Greater than what?

Look at my calculation directly above. Nobody's denying that there is a tidal effect from the Moon, but the gravitational force is 160 times less than that of the Sun.

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

A Syzygy of the Earth, Earth's Moon and Earth's Sun, has a greater gravitational effect than a Syzygy of Earth, Neptune, and Pluto. You were saying, James, to simply use the term Syzygy, instead of Eclipse. However, an Eclipse is a particular type of Syzygy, differing from an non Solar, Syzygy; du-UH!

The difference between the Eclipse Syzygy and the non Syzygy gravitational effect of the Sun during Perigee, is like the difference between a series and a parallel, electronic circuit. The closer proximity of the Moon to Earth than the Sun to Earth, results in greater, local influence on Earth's tides. When the Moon and Sun are in conjunction with the Earth, it's a seriesed circuit focusing the combined gravity through the Moon to a narrow aperture on tides; just enough stronger to make a significant difference.

James Concannon said...

« just enough stronger to make a significant difference. »

To tides, yes, but not to plate tectonics. Here's some reading for you, Theadora. Stuart Robbins' statistical survey. He found NO correlation between syzygy and quakes, and no correlation between lunar perigee and quakes either. Think about that.


THE Orbs Whiperer said...

It is the weight of water being reduced at low tide off tectonic plates at fault lines which results in plate movement. Jim Berkland did find a significant correlation between Lunar Perigee when in conjunction with Solar Syzygy. That's like a series circuit. A non conjunction occurrence, that is to say, a Lunar Perigee happening at a different time than a Solar Syzygy, is like a parallel circuit, which has a lower output than a series circuit.

Chris said...

Let's look at the extra gravitational force from the Moon **in the direction of the Sun** during a total eclipse. Whatever that maximum force can be in that direction let's call it F. Let's call the actual force in that direction during any lunar conjunction f. Let's call the angle between the Sun and Moon a.

During an eclipse f = F and the Sun-Earth-Moon angle is 0. Thus f = COS(0) x F

The Moon's inclination to the ecliptic is 5.145 degrees and, depending on the position of the Earth/Moon system along their orbit arond the Sun, the angle between the Sun and Moon at conjunction, from Earth, will be anywhere from 0 to 5.145 degrees. The smallest force in the direction of the Sun is when this angle is its maximum.

Thus the most amount of force f in the direction of the Sun at lunar conjunction (AKA new moon) is

f = COS(0) x F = F during a total solar eclipse

f = COS(5.145) x F = 0.996 x F during a conjunction with least force in that direction

Therefore the extra gravitational force felt by Earth during a total solar eclipse is only 1 / 0.996 = 1.004 x the least force possible. And therefore even less than 1.004 x the force typically felt in the direction of the Sun

Conclusion: RM's claim, that during solar eclipses we get water being pushed around which leads to earthquakes, doesn't stack up, because every single lunar conjunction that isn't an eclipse provides at worst 99.6% of that same force, so we'd expect to be seeing these effects every month.

I am saying nothing about any other effects such as the Moon's apsides - only looking at how much more does a total eclipse make compared to a normal near pass.


James Concannon said...

Thanks for the comment, Chris. I agree with your analysis. Another way that Morningstar is wrong is in worrying about earthquakes at the sub-lunar point. If anything happens at all at lunar conjunction, it'll be in coastal regions, as a result of maximum ocean tides.

Two Percent said...


I can do better...

I certainly hope so!

Gravitational attraction Moon-Earth at apogee: 0.01783 x 10^22 newtons
Gravitational attraction Moon-Earth at perigee: 0.02237 x 10^22 newtons

showing that the difference in force from perigee to apogee:

0.02237/0.01783 = 1.2546 (25% more, I think)

which is vastly more than Chris's 0.4% difference caused by misalignment due to the lunar orbit being 5.145° off the ecliptic.

Earth's orbit around the sun is also elliptic, but I haven't looked up the figures. Clearly, this question is not that simple.

I don't know where you got your figures from, but you say:

This is kinda swamped by the solar force of 3.6 x 10^22 newtons, 160 times greater at perigee

So it might seem, but how does this work?

Please explain why the Moon, and not the Sun, is responsible for Earth's tides. If the Solar gravitational force is around 150 times more than the Moon's, why is High Tide not at 12am and 12pm every day, with the Moon contributing its feeble gravity only to Spring Tides.

In fact, it's the other way around, tides follow the Moon, with Spring Tides at syzygies, so something appears very wrong somewhere.

I await enlightenment!

Merely 2%

James Concannon said...

Good question, actually. Ocean tides occur because of the gravity gradient across the diameter of the Earth. To put it simply, the Moon attracts the ocean nearest it more strongly than it does the ocean on the far side. Since the diameter of the Earth is ~6.8% of the distance to the Moon this secondary gravitational effect is non-negligible.

The gravitational force of the Sun is way bigger but the diameter of the Earth is a mere 0.0017% of the distance to the Sun. Ergo the tidal influence from the Sun is less.

Further reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_force

A corollary of this is that my statement "This is kinda swamped by the solar force of 3.6 x 10^22 newtons" may be problematic.

Two Percent said...


And regarding earthquakes, it therefore seems likely that the Moon may have an influence thereon, even if the timing thereof is not particularly apparent.

Here's another thought (quite apart from my view that the Moon did not form in Earth orbit): maybe the Moon's presence actually promotes continuing Earthly earthquakes and volcanism, due to the fact that it is constantly stressing and distorting the planet's crust. xp@ and i had a discussion about volcanism wrt Mars, in another thread.


Stuart Robbins' statistical survey. He found NO correlation between syzygy and quakes, and no correlation between lunar perigee and quakes either. Think about that.

As suggested, I did, for 5 seconds ;-) I don't know what data he used, nor what methods (and I haven't looked, yet anyway). Maybe he's wrong! (You can't prove a negative!* You should know that, James.) So, maybe correlations exist, but he just didn't find 'em.

I'd be curious to know more about, as Orbs says:

as Jim Berkland has proven.

@The Orbs Whisperer: We might be able to accept it, if we could see it. What standard of proof? Where is it?

Meantime, here's another question: how does the Earth's core remain molten, 4.5 billion years later?


* Woo-ccusers usually don't let that get in the way of a good debunking.

Two Percent said...


I got THAT wrong!

Sorry Orbs. No 'S' in Whiperer.

Dunno why not tho'

Oh, the power of Suggestion!

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

I've posted several links above to Jim Berkland's website and facebutt page. Here's another link to a list of results, along with a note from the site's, webmaster:


SITEMASTER'S NOTE: Scoring of close calls was done by me, in a way that I deemed as fair. If you have any difficulty with the method, please email me, Will Fletcher with your concerns. Thank you. reporter@syzygyjob.com

expat said...

FYI: From that wikipedia article--the tidal force of the Sun is about 45% that of the Moon. I presume they mean the mean of the Moon's force as it oscillates between apogee and perigee.

Two Percent said...


Depends where you look! This might help?

The solar gravitational force on the Earth is on average 179 times stronger than the lunar, but because the Sun is on average 389 times farther from the Earth, its field gradient is weaker. The solar tidal force is 46% as large as the lunar.[34] More precisely, the lunar tidal acceleration (along the Moon–Earth axis, at the Earth's surface) is about 1.1 × 10−7 g, while the solar tidal acceleration (along the Sun–Earth axis, at the Earth's surface) is about 0.52 × 10−7 g, where g is the gravitational acceleration at the Earth's surface.[35] *

...even if they missed out the critical "on average"...

Actually, 0.52/1.1 => 47%, but I guess we have excessive rounding to blame for the differences.

Personally, I find the whole thing very difficult to conceptualise from scratch, but I think the Wikipedia explanation is incomplete. I believe the antipodal high tides are actually a Centre of Mass (Centre of Balance) effect, which I didn't see mentioned, but I never read the whole thing closely.

Anyway, it's fascinating that the Solar Tidal Force is so weak (and not dominant), when the Solar Gravitational Force is ~179 times the Lunar.

I haven't read it anywhere, but I presume this is related to the lower density of water cf the rest of the planet. I mean, all surface water on Earth will be constantly being pulled towards the sun, and being liquid, is generally able to move in that direction. The gravitational gradient is not especially relevant here - even the water on the far side of the planet would want to move towards the sun, which of course shifts the centre of mass. Then, there are the centripetal forces which are greater on the antipodal oceans, probably negating the effect. As previously, it's all very complex.

No wonder we haven't handled Earthquake Prediction yet, but I do like a lot of what Jim Berkland considered. A good example of a lateral thinker! He points (ok, pointed) clearly to a number of directions that Earthquake Research should be following, so I find USGS seismologist Jerry Seaton's criticisms of him particularly churlish, even if it is just (un)"professional" jealousy.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tide

expat said...

This is worth reading.

THE Orbs Whiperer said...

The anti-gravity effect of centrifugal force from Earth's rotation, reduces water weight, virtually increasing the Moon's gravitational affect on tides. As the Earth rotates at more than one thousand miles per hour, and the Moon orbits at more than two thousand miles per hour, it's like two hands ripping a telephone book in half. The rotation of the Moon, creates additional force in the form of torque; like leverage peeling back the lose water from a firm, tectonic plate.

expat said...

The link I posted immediately above gives correct information about correction for centrifugal force.

Theadora: You cannot measure rotation in miles per hour. The unit is revolutions per [time].

The rotation of the Moon plays no part in this whatever. You are mistaken.

Two Percent said...

xp@, it's a shame NASA doesn't mention the forces involved in making the land 40mm higher during the (eclipse). I reckon that would be an interesting number. Never mind.

Orbs: I'm sure you meant orbiting, not rotating. The Moon's rotation is almost one revolution per month... as the Moon is tidally locked with the Earth, meaning the same side (face) always faces Earth. Yes, it took torque to achieve that, but I'm not sure it's active any longer.

Even if you meant ORBiting, again, that has very little to do with creating torque. Yes, there is a torque component, but it is induced by the restraining of the tidal water flows, due to land, harbours, bridges, narrow estuary mouths, tidal power generating stations, etc, getting in its way.

The effect of that torque, perhaps surprisingly, it to slow down Earth's rotation, and speed up the Moon's orbiting, meaning that it is slowly moving away from Earth... The Lunar month, and our days are both getting very slightly longer. For these reasons, Tidal Power generation may not be such a great idea. It's the local universe, winding down...

But life is short, to hell with future generations!

Not too sure about your ripping phone book analogy, and last time I tried, the water had to be frozen before I could lever it. Don't confuse tides with water movement though! The moon doesn't "drag" the water (tides) "around" the planet, it merely acts like an energy wave passing through the water. The water rises, drawing more water from all sides, but after the moon has "gone" the water is pretty much in the same place (relative to the land underneath it) as it was before. Ocean currents excepted, of course.

Two Percent said...

Maybe I meant "seabed" underneath it...

Anonymous said...

Theo does seem to say that the Moon orbits the Earth, and that the Earth rotates, both of which can be measured in miles per hour.

expat said...

Whoever Theo is, he/she is wrong about the measurement of rotation.

Anonymous said...

Tearing a telephone book in half, is a fine example of the application of Torsion; not to be confused, with Torque. Earth rotates on it's axis at a speed of 1,071 miles per hour. The Moon rotates on it's axis about once every 27 days and orbits Earth at a speed of 2,288 miles per hour. If the Moon were to orbit in the opposite direction from that which the Earth rotates on it's axis, which it doesn't, then there might also be Torsion applied to the affect on tides, but there's not.

expat said...

« Earth rotates on it's axis at a speed of 1,071 miles per hour. »

That sentence has no meaning. What part of the planet is travelling at 1,071 mph, and in relation to what?

...and kill that apostrophe in "it's" please.

Anonymous said...

Big Ben circles the axis riding on the surface of the planet at about 1,071 miles per hour, even in jolly old London, where the speed limit is posted in metric.

The contraction for 'it is,' is 'it's,' as opposed to having multiple 'its,' as if as, 'dipshits'.

expat said...

So I presume the uncontracted version of your sentence would be "The Moon rotates on it is axis about once every 27 days."

You aren't making any sense at all, anon.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Patrick, so now tell me how to edit published posts, here.

expat said...

You can't, but you can delete and re-post an edited text.

Anonymous said...

Can one re-post in the same chronological location as the deleted comment?

Ivan Horn said...

"...even in jolly old London, where the speed limit is posted in metric."

I shouldn't nitpick, but in jolly old London, as in the rest of the UK, speeds limits are posted in imperial (MPH), not metric.

Two Percent said...


Sorry, but you are babbling!

As the Earth rotates at more than one thousand miles per hour, and the Moon orbits at more than two thousand miles per hour, it's like two hands ripping a telephone book in half.

As xp@ said, miles per hour is not the correct way to refer to rates of rotation.

But since you and "Anon" insist, let's look into it.

You say Big Ben (in London) circles the axis [of rotation] ... at about 1,071 MPH.

So, by my logic, in 24 hours Big Ben will travel 1,071 miles/h x 24h = 25,704 miles.

From www.latlong.net, the latitude of The Tower of London, London, UK is 51.508530.

However, according to Wikipedia, the circumference of the planet, in miles, is 24,901 miles at the Equator. [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equator ]

Now, maybe I'm starting to understand your telephone book analogy. For that to happen, there will be a lot of ripping going on. You see, according to your assertion, Big Ben travels further in one day than any point on the Equator. There are a few obvious ways that can happen. Perhaps, the diameter of the Earth at the
51st - 52nd parallels north is greater than at the Equator, which not many people will agree with, or, miles along the 51st & 52nd parallels north are very much shorter than they are at the Equator. Or, somehow, Big Ben is in a time warp, which means it's somehow orbiting the planet's axis at a higher speed than the rest of the planet. Or Big Ben is a low altitude satellite (with a near impossible orbit), or on a (perpetual motion) rocket! Again, this defies popular belief.

By my calculations, if the circumference of the planet is 24,901 miles at the Equator, the Equatorial radius of the planet must be about 3963 miles.

Ignoring the fact that the Earth is an oblate spheroid and assuming it's (i.e. it is) perfectly round, the radius of the parallel at 51.5 degrees north must be about 3963 cos(51.5°) = 2467 miles. A point on this line will travel 2piR = 15,500 miles in one 24 hour day. Therefore, its surface speed is almost 646 MPH, significantly less than 1,071 MPH as you state.

Since you seem to be "off the mark" here, maybe you could explain your statement regarding the relevance of the orbital speed of the moon? What does it have to do with Earthquakes?

Also, what mode of tearing do you imagine for that phone book? Is the book open, and being torn along its spine, or what?

expat said...

« Can one re-post in the same chronological location as the deleted comment? »

'fraid not. That's an inherent snag.