152 — Do Large (Magnitude ≥8) Global Earthquakes Occur on Preferred Days of the Calendar Year or Lunar Cycle?
This article has by far the best abstract of any article I’ve ever read. If you get a chance, please go read it here.
There is a lot of misinformation out there. One surprisingly common belief is that earthquakes or other natural disasters are in some way correlated with certain days of the year or lunar cycle. In reality, these events are, of course, completely random.
To conclusively prove this, Hough collects hundreds of earthquake records and looks for any pattern whatsoever. In reality, these events are, of course, completely random. So she doesn’t find any patterns.
In fact, Hough shows that even if you think there is a pattern in the data, there is no pattern significant enough that it would be useful for predicting seismological events. In other words, even if we assume for a moment that there is some underlying relationship between the lunar or calendar cycle and the severity or occurrence of earthquakes (in reality, these events are, of course, completely random), in the hundreds of earthquakes included in this dataset, there’s no way we could actually use this knowledge to make our lives better or understand the world better.
So if you hear anyone spreading this sort of garbage pseudoscience, remind them that in reality, these events are, of course, completely random.