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Supermoon today — Moon at closest point for 70 years. [News: 7.9 Quake hits New Zealand]

Moon, Nov 13, 2016.

BREAKING: Massive magnitude 7.9 earthquake hits New Zealand tonight at midnight local time. 90km North of Christchurch. Thankfully, so far there are no reports of injuries or deaths. UPDATE: One Two deaths now reported. The quake was rated 7.4 initially but upgraded to 7.9 by Geoscience Australia. The small tsunami is expected to reach Australia around now (3 – 4am AEST).  Many New Zealanders were evacuated and moved to higher ground for fear of the tsunami estimated at 2.5 – 5m.  For more see NZ TV News and Twitter: #Earthquake. Maybe it’s connected to the full moon, maybe it isn’t. Best wishes to all our New Zealand readers.

UPDATE: Another strong 6.4 Earthquake has hit NZ, and a lot of small ones.

UPDATE: Clarence River got blocked, a lake formed, and has breached due to the quake. There were possibly two simultaneous quakes at midnight last night. In 2010 the fault rupture was about 30km long. This time it was about four times as long (about 3:30ish on the video). There have been over 400 aftershocks small earthquakes. h/t Tom.

UPDATE: NZ Geo’s say the big quake was 7.5.  They are clocking up the aftershocks by the minute here! Two near 6.0 in the last five minutes. The islands are shaking. h/t to Rereke.

Supermoon Monday

Monday night the moon will rise about 2 hours after it is at the closest point in its loopy orbit (for Australians). Officially it’s called a perigee moon.

ABC – The event, known as the supermoon, occurs when a full or new moon passes closer to Earth in its monthly orbit.

The coincidence will take place three times in 2016 — October 16, November 14 and December 14.

But the November supermoon is special because it will be “the closest full moon to date in the 21st century”, according to NASA.

It will become full just two hours after its closest approach to Earth, arguably making it an “extra-super Moon”.

It is not expected to appear again until November 25, 2034.


Photo: taken tonight from a handheld click-n-shoot camera by me (Canon SX50). It’s not even an SLR.  Remarkable technology that lets us see things with a click that the worlds best thinkers could only dream of a few hundred years ago.

Is the quake in NZ connected to (or exacerbated by) the moon?

Ide et al (2016) suggests it might be:

“In particular, a clear causal relationship between small earthquakes and the phase of tidal stress is elusive. However, tectonic tremors deep within subduction zones are highly sensitive to tidal stress levels, with tremor rate increasing at an exponential rate with rising tidal stress.

… This suggests that the probability of a tiny rock failure expanding to a gigantic rupture increases with increasing tidal stress levels. We conclude that large earthquakes are more probable during periods of high tidal stress.”

Other curious stories about The Moon.

Earth creates tides in the rock that is the Moon
There is a pretty cool 50 cm bulge on the moon that the Earth creates and it wanders around the surface of the moon.

The Mystery of the dark side of the moon solved after 55 years
The Moon and Earth appear to have been locked in a joint orbit since the beginning. The same side of the moon  has probably always faced Earth, and the two sides of the moon are quite different because of this. There is a centrifugal, thermal, and gravitational effect from Earth that makes the composition of the moon different on the far side. The molten minerals on the moon have kind of been centrifuged into a gradient.

Can the Moon change our climate? Can tides in the atmosphere solve the mystery of ENSO?Ian Wilson has a neat theory about the moon generating tides in our atmosphere that appear to create standing  waves that slowly shift around the earth. Could it be that when these standing waves line up over the Pacific the trade winds strengthen and we get an El Nino? see also  The Moons’ influence on the atmosphere over Australia.


IDe et al (2016) Earthquakes potential revealed by tidal influence  Nature Geoscience, 12 SEPTEMBER | VOL 9 | NOVEMBER 2016 | www.nature.com/naturegeoscience
USeful Moon links: Moon Earth apogee-perigee calculator distance. Micromoon (opposite of a Supermoon). Moon calendar.

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