Scientists say "Supermoon" had no role in Japan tsunami

Kevin McGuire's picture

Parts of Japan's eastern coast are recovering from the effects of a tsunami that some conspiracy theorists warned could happen as the moon approaches it's closest distance to Earth since 1992, but scientists argue that the moon's distance to Earth played no role in the recent tsunami.

Astrologists predict that on March 19, when the moon will be a short distance of 221,567 miles from Earth, the gravitational pull between the two will be so great that it will cause unpredictable events on Earth. Conspiracy theorists have taken that prediction and run with it by suggesting devastating earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and massive tidal waves could cause major destruction. AccuWeather's Mark Paquette says "The validity of these types of forecasts can be debated ad nauseum."

"We obviously know that there are scientific laws that say the moon affects the Earth (i.e. tides)," Paquette says. "There are also less proven theories that propose that the moon affects the Earth in other ways (i.e. abnormal behavior during a full moon). Can the Super (full) Moon contribute to extreme weather and other natural phenomenon?"

AccuWeather also notes that the last time a supermoon was seen orbiting Earth was on January 10, 2005. On December 26, 2004 an undersea megathrust earthquake resulted in a tsunami that ripped through the Indian Ocean and caused great damage in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Indian, and Thailand. NASA confirmed that the Earth's tilt was altered as a result of the massive earthquake, which measured 9.0 on the Richter Scale. Scientists also state that geological events on Earth cannot be affected by astrological events such as the moon's gravitational pull.

Debates continue on whether or not the moon's proximity to Earth had any role in the earthquake as it happened two weeks prior to the supermoon event, but it has been a debate that has captured the intrigue of astronomers and conspiracy theorists. Supermoons also occurred in 1955, 1974, and 1992 and each of these years had noted extreme weather or natural disasters according to AccuWeather.

TV weatherman John Kettley told The Sun in the United Kingdom "A moon can't cause a geological event like an earthquake, but it will cause a difference to the tide. If that combines with certain weather conditions then that could cause a few problems for coastal areas."

The moon will be going through a lunar pedigee, which is when a full moon orbits Earth comes within 90 percent of its closest possible distance to its home planet. When the moon orbits as closely as it will to Earth it is often referred to as a "supermoon" because the size of the moon looks larger than normal, because it is closer to Earth. The last time a supermoon was seen was in 2005 but this time will see the largest supermoon since 1992.

Image: Wikipedia

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