TOP LA LEGENDS #2: There Really IS Earthquake Weather

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You know the feeling; the air is hot and heavy, the trees deathly still until the wind starts up, blowing that hot air through the window. Even the birds seem to be quiet and hiding, waiting for the big one. Then someone mentions it’s ‘Earthquake Weather’. Stories abound about how someone’s dog was acting crazy and wouldn’t come into the house the day before the earthquake hit…. Etc.

Fact or Fiction? Well, I’ve always suspected it’s true, and even wrote a post about it a year ago. But, according to the United States Geologic Survey Dept., “There is no connection between weather and earthquakes. They are the result of geologic processes within the earth and can happen in any weather and at any time during the year. Earthquakes originate miles underground. Wind, precipitation, temperature, and barometric pressure changes affect only the surface and shallow subsurface of the Earth. Earthquakes are focused at depths well out of the reach of weather.

Hmm. What do geologists know anyway? Do they live in LA and get that weird feeling? And they’re all over the place anyway. According to Lizet Christiansen of the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park, who did a study on the connection between the California rains in the winter and the apparently seasonal earthquakes that are prevelant between August and January. She and her team believes that the explanation lies in how water, from all the rain, penetrates bedrock. On the San Andreas fault, she says, rain falling early in the year seeps in through pores in the upper layers of rock, raising the water table. The weight of the water exerts pressure on lower layers, adding stress to faults that lie deeper in the Earth’s crust, which in turn can trigger earthquakes. She also says it may take 30 years to back up this theory.

Sounds good to me. But it still doesn’t explain the weird weather people feel right before an earthquake hits. That would be the earthquake weather I’m talking about. So maybe it exists and maybe it doesn’t. Legend can’t be proven one way or another if the scientists can’t agree!

Read the rest of LA’s Top 25 Legends.

9 Replies to “TOP LA LEGENDS #2: There Really IS Earthquake Weather”

  1. Though I don’t think earthquakes and weather are actually related, I love the phrase ‘earthquake weather” and use it whenever it is hot and still.

  2. it may be a holdover from the migrants who came from the plains states in the 1st half of teh 20th century. “earthquake weather” isn’t too far from “tornado weather” – only we don’t have tornadoes. the grapes of wrath migrants may be behind this one…

  3. Interesting, folks I know (mostly Latinos) usually say it’s earthquake weather when it’s hot and then cloudy. I never knew about the stillness element.

  4. i’ve always felt like that hot wind is the preview for an earthquake to come a few days or weeks later, especially if we’ve had more rain than usual in the early spring before — like the earth gets soaked, then super dried out, which just doesn’t seem good. but i’m sure i don’t know what i’m talking about.

  5. See but what if the “earthquake weather” is a result of those changes deep beneath the earths surface. The weather may not affect the earths sub-stratas but maybe the liberation of the earths pent up energy may cause changes in weather or the changes could be due to slight magnetism changes between earth and moon during plate shifting, and the preasure leading up to it.
    I’m from Chile and we have a similar local lore about there being “earthqueke weather” and we are a super sismic region too. I think it’s cool, true or false.

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