Ten days after the supermoon passed close to earth a 6.0-magnitude earthquake has rocked parts of northern California, injuring dozens of people, damaging historic buildings and setting some homes on fire. The biggest quake in the region in 25 years jolted many residents out of bed when it hit at 3:20am (8:20pm AEST). The earthquake was centred about 10 kilometres south of the city of Napa. Three people were seriously injured, including a child who suffered multiple fractures after a fireplace fell on him, One local hospital said it had treated 89 patients following the earthquake.
Most damage on Sunday, appeared centred around Napa, a famous wine-producing region and a major tourist destination in northern California. It was the largest to hit the area since the Loma Prieta quake in 1989, which killed 63 people and caused $US6 billion in property damage. That quake measured 6.9, while the famous one that levelled San Francisco in 1906 measured 7.8.
There was a supermoon on Sunday night 10th August. Its brightness turned night into day when this month’s full moon was in its perigee – the closest it came to earth this year – a distance of 356,896km. The name ‘supermoon’ was coined by an astrologer, Richard Nolle, over 30 years ago. It was popularized and came to be the accepted term by most people only in the past few years for when the moon’s perigees are close to earth.
There is a theory that supermoons are responsible for earthquakes, best explained by imagining Moon and Earth of two ice skaters holding hands and spinning around each other with a common barycentre. When one slows, the other is induced to speed-up. When this theory is applied to a supermoon passing the earth the result can lead to a flexing of the tectonic plates nearest to the location of closest perigee pass-over.
Since the passing of the supermoon on Sunday 10th the following earthquakes have been reported:
Tuesday, August 12, , 293km NNW of Lorengau, Papua New Guinea – Magnitude 4.5 Richter Scale
Tuesday, August 12 Rota Region, Mariana Islands.Mag 5.0,
Tuesday, August 12 112k m Nicobar Islands, India. Mag 4.6
Wednesday, August 13,, 145km NNE of Mohean, India – Mag 4.8
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