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Earth Science is one of my life’s passions. It was my first choice of study in college, but I gave up it when I discovered that calculus was required for any science degree.

However, I am a creature that is more fascinated by the world around me, than the details of societal norms. I don’t have a degree in science, but I do a lot of research on what real scientists have learned. That is why I’m interested in the orbits of the Sun and the Moon and the potential of an increase in earthquake activity starting near Christmas and continuing through the first week in January.

The gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon do not cause earthquakes. Earthquakes are caused by the movement of crustal plates at and near the surface of our planet. Anyone who claims that the Sun and Moon cause earthquakes is dancing on fringe science.

However, as the plates grind against each other they create stress and at times lock up. It is when a region of locked plates break free that an earthquake occurs. The bigger the movement after the release, the bigger the earthquake.

The gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon affects the Earth. This pull may have trigger effect on some earthquakes under certain conditions. It would be a situation where a region is near the release point, and the tug of the Sun and/or Moon gives the needed boost to start the movement of the stressed area.

Currently, the Earth is approaching its annual perihelion (closest approach) to the Sun. Perihelion will officially occur at 9:34 pm PST on 2 January 2018. At the same time the Moon is approaching its closest approach to Earth (perigee) for all of 2018 at 1:48 pm on 1 January.

The Sun and the Moon will be on opposite sides of the Earth around New Year’s Day, so the gravitational pull will be most intense at that time, potentially stretching areas of the Earth’s crust that are ready to break free. Will this cause and increase in earthquakes? I can’t answer that. No one can. But it will be interesting to track.

As always, preparation for an earthquake in those areas prone to have earthquakes, and in coastal areas is always wise, regardless of the orbits of the Sun and the Moon.

Happy Winter Solstice!