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Can a supermoon cause an earthquake (VIDEO)?

supermoon031911_optBY PAM LOBLEY

This weekend you can enjoy a beautiful full moon – but not just any full moon – a supermoon.

I know, I know, you thought a supermoon was when cast of “The Biggest Loser” bent over to tie their shoes.

The supermoon is actually, the biggest, brightest moon to shine over Earth in 20 years. This is because the moon's orbit is oval, so there is a point where it is the closest to the Earth, known as its perigee, and this year, the perigee occurs at the same time as a full moon.

Together, they will create a supermoon.

It’s the closest full moon we’ve had since 1993, and the next one will be in 19 years, so on Saturday March 19, get outside and drink it in.

There is lots of speculation that supermoons can cause natural disasters. This is because when the moon is at its perigee, the gravitational pull is at its strongest, affecting the tides. But is it strong enough to cause earthquakes, storms, and other disruptions?

Last week was the huge earthquake and tsunami in Japan – could they be related?

There is some anecdotal evidence linking natural disasters and supermoons; in particular, astrologist Richard Nolle has written about supermoons and you may enjoy reading his thoughts on his page Supermoon.

However, as I did my research, I found that there was absolutely no hard scientific fact attaching supermoons to earthly events. Additionally, I could not even determine whether supermoon is one word or two (super moon). Perhaps the gravitational pull between super and moon is being affected by the perigee.

So, you can relax, there won’t be Moonageddon. The moon will be 14% bigger than usual, and the best time to look at the moon, according to NASA, is when it’s near the horizon, around sunset time. This is because when it’s high up the sky, there are no objects to compare it to. But when it’s lower down, you can see the tops of trees or roofs poking up and appearing to touch it, and its size will be more obvious. It’s the same idea that photographers use: put something in the foreground to give the picture perspective.

Luckily, tonight’s weather is perfect for moon gazing, with good, clear skies. Maybe you should bring the radio – it’s a marvelous night for a moon dance.

Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Sign up for her mailing list at


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Comments (1)
1 Sunday, 20 March 2011 23:47
Thanks! very good articles

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