Can hurricanes produce earthquakes?
Since a few days, there are several hurricanes sweeping in the Atlantic and yesterday, a M8.2 earthquake on Pacific coast of Mexico. Are these events related?
Scientists found strong temporal relationship between the two natural hazards, where large earthquakes occurred within four years after a very wet tropical cyclone season.
Very wet rain events may be the trigger. The heavy rain induces thousands of landslides and severe erosion, which removes ground material from the Earth’s surface, releasing the stress load and encouraging movement along faults. The decrease in pressure caused by the storm’s travel may also reduce forces on the fault enough to allow it to slip.
This following picture is a comparison bewteen the hurricane season in September 2010 and September 2017. It is just stunning and totally weird. They look exactly the same:
This second picture shows the epicenter of the M8.2 earthquake that hit Mexico on September 7, 2017:
Moreover, on August 23, 2011 a rare magnitude 5.8 earthquake hit Virginia. Later that week, Hurricane Irene moved into the region, triggering more small earthquakes in the recently ruptured fault. The rate of aftershocks usually decreases with time, but instead of declining in a normal pattern, the rate of aftershocks following the 23 August, 2011, earthquake near Mineral, Virginia, increased sharply as Irene passed by.
Hurricanes are known to produce strong seismic waves all by themselves. For example, Hurricane Sandy generated seismic shaking as far away as Seattle.
There has also been some very weird tidal phenomena on both Pacific and Atlantic coasts these last few weeks. This has also probably an influence on what is currently going on in this region of the globe.
As demonstrated by these scientific works, hurricanes can trigger earthquakes, and this is probably what happenned on September 7, 2017, as three hurricanes churning in the Atlanc Ocean produce a major and deadly M8.2 earthquake on the Pacific coast of Mexico.