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How the moon and big tides could be a trigger for big earthquakes

How the moon and big tides could be a trigger for big earthquakes

It’s one of the most enduring mysteries in earthquake science: Why do small earthquakes stay small, while others grow into monsters?

A group of researchers offered a partial, but tantalizing answer this month: The moon and big tides.

How does this work?

The scientists zeroed in on times of high tidal stress, which can occur twice a month, during the full moon and new moon. During these moments, high tides are at their highest — flooding the tallest reaches of a beach — and about six hours later, low tides are at their lowest for the month, with seawater retreating to the farthest point toward the ocean.

This produces massive...

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