Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Solar Activity vs Earthquakes

For the benefit of those claiming that solar flares and solar activity affect earthquakes, I have create these two graphs. The first is a graph of earthquake frequency and magnitude for all earthquakes of magnitude 6 and above (otherwise we would drowning in noise from magnitude 5 quakes) plotted against sunspot number from 1979 to 2010. Click on the image to embiggen.

I’ve use a 4 point smoothing to make the data more legible (which is why some Mag 8 earthquakes don’t appear). Data for earthquakes is from here, and sunspot data is from here.

As you can immediately see, earthquake number and intensity is basically random. There is no correlation with sunspot number, which is a proxy for solar activity and flare numbers. You can play around with the raw data and plot it in a variety of ways (binning earthquakes by month etc.) but the answer is the same. No relationship.

To get a better handle on this, I’ve also plotted all earthquakes for 2010 magnitude 5 and greater against all solar flares magnitude C1 and greater (C is weakest, M more intense and X very intense). Flare data is from the Australian IPS. Coronal mass ejections (when Earth directed) tend to hit 48 hours after the solar flare (click image to embiggen).

Again, as you can see there is no correlation between solar flares and earthquake number or magnitude.

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