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Andrew Alden

Earthquakes and Solar Activity? Nope.

By June 29, 2013

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In a recent paper in Geophysical Research Letters, a pair of researchers finally had had enough of inconclusive, less-than-rigorous papers, not to mention blog posts and other chatter, that went boggle-eyed over possible hints of a relationship between earthquakes and sunspots or similar things. It's one thing that nobody has a good theoretical model explaining why the sun would trigger earthquakes—you don't need a theory to find a statistical link—but it's another that so many studies have used partial data and didn't carry out sound statistical tests of their results. So Jeffrey Love and Jeremy Thomas did a baseline study the right way, and like good scientists they concluded that "we cannot confidently reject the null hypothesis of no solar-terrestrial triggering of earthquakes." That means there's nothing there, to a first approximation. I lay out more of the details in this new article.

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