Hurricanes are much more common than earthquakes and can cause more damage. Can the two occur in the same place within the same time frame? Why would such a thing take place?
Yes, hurricanes can cause earthquakes. The prevalence is not as high, but hurricanes can move the mass of the Earth and deposit in another place. This may lead to movement in plate tectonics and cause an earthquake. Earthquakes caused by hurricanes are called tropical earthquakes.
Let us probe further into how hurricanes and earthquakes take place. We will see what factors relate to the two phenomena and what factors lead to the order in which they occur.
What Are Hurricanes?
A revolving low-pressure weather system is called a tropical cyclone, and cyclones with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph are called hurricanes or tropical storms. Hurricanes are the most violent storms on Earth and usually occur in tropical or subtropical waters, specifically the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, or the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Hurricanes occur when warm, humid air rises and forms a tropical wave, and then low-pressure air moves towards the moisture-rich air resulting in large clouds and thunderstorms. This process continues until an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms forms a hurricane. The possibility of property damage increases with the hurricane category.
What Are Earthquakes?
Any sudden ground trembling brought on by seismic waves moving through the Earth’s lithosphere is called an earthquake. When the energy inside Earth’s crust is abruptly released, typically due to masses of rocks rubbing against one another crack and slide, this results in seismic waves.
Areas along the geologic faults experience these events most frequently, where rock masses and tectonic plates can move about one another.
Can Hurricanes Cause Earthquakes?
As hurricanes are much worse than regular rain and bring along vast masses of water, they may impact the Earth and lead to some changes. But how can this happen?
Landslides are a natural process of wear and tear in the mountains. Vast masses of rocks or parts of the mountain break apart from the hill and fall to the flat ground down the slope—some factors result in landslides, including rains, snowfalls, soil erosion, earthquakes, and volcanic activities.
In the case of hurricanes, the heavy rain and the soil erosion cause parts of the mountain to loosen up and move downhill. As this occurs, the weight is shifted on the tectonic plates. The faults may be exposed, and the tectonic plates move, resulting in an earthquake.
Hurricanes can cause earthquakes as they are potent agents that can move mass from one place to another and change landscapes. Hurricane-driven earthquakes are referred to as “tropical earthquakes.” Hurricanes during a storm season release powerful energy in the form of ocean waves that, when encountering solid Earth, produce significant seismic activity.
What Is The Chance Of A Hurricane Causing An Earthquake?
The changes in statistical numbers have yet to be deduced. There has yet to be much research on the theory that declared that hurricanes cause earthquakes. With sufficient data, inferences can be made about the frequency of hurricane-driven earthquakes.
Does every hurricane cause an earthquake? Is there a percentage of hurricanes that cause earthquakes? Does a certain magnitude of a hurricane determine the chance of an earthquake? These are all questions left unanswered unless probed by leading scientists in the field.
Can Earthquakes Be Caused Due To Weather Conditions?
Which weather do you think would cause an earthquake? Cold, hot, dry? The myth of “earthquake weather” is false and not backed by any scientific research.
Research has shown that solid storm systems may cause slight fault slips or slow earthquakes. However, the limitation of the study was that these instances were sporadic. Moreover, earthquakes continued to happen in calm environments with no storms.
The myth was rooted in Aristotle’s theory that earthquakes occur because the wind gets trapped, and when it breaks through, it brings about an earthquake. However, this is just that, a myth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Earthquakes Cause Hurricanes?
No, earthquakes do not cause hurricanes. The movement in plate tectonics cannot cause changes in the weather. However, hurricanes can cause earthquakes as the hurricane may move plate tectonics.
Which Occurs First, An Earthquake Or A Hurricane?
A hurricane occurs before an earthquake. Earthquakes may precede hurricanes. However, if hurricanes precede earthquakes, that is just a coincidence and cannot be backed by scientific evidence and knowledge.
What Is The Magnitude Of An Earthquake After A Hurricane?
The hurricane cannot cause enormous changes and generate a strong earthquake which may be capable of intense destruction. The earthquakes that occur in the wake of a hurricane have a magnitude of as high as 3.5.
What Is The Difference Between A Tropical Cyclone And A Hurricane?
There are no differences between the two. A tropical cyclone is a name used in scientific literature when describing storm systems that bring destruction. Hurricanes are the same.
What Is The Difference Between A Typhoon And A Hurricane?
A typhoon and a hurricane are different names for the same phenomena. They are both storm systems. Tropical cyclones are called hurricanes when they originate from the Atlantic and East Pacific. They are called typhoons when they create from the West Pacific. In the Indian Ocean and Australia, tropical cyclones are called cyclones.
Can Hurricanes Cause Tsunamis?
No, they cannot. Hurricanes take place over land, while tsunamis originate from the ocean. An earthquake in the ocean leads to massive waves moving toward the shore and causing a tsunami. A hurricane is unrelated to a tsunami at all, except to the extent of the destruction.
Hurricanes are incredibly powerful sources of nature. The strong winds can transform areas and landscapes. They can move tectonic plates and eventually cause earthquakes to happen. Although these earthquakes have lower magnitudes, there is some damage.
It is advised to stay away from regions that are hit by hurricanes. However, if you are stuck, take cover and try to stay safe.