Moon Movements May Cause Mayhem
Moon May Be Existential Threat To Humanity
Massive tsunami in in Japan, continued civic unrest in Libya, and Justin Bieber managing to incite riots in Liverpool. The past weeks’ headlines seem to hint the coming fall of man, but for every genuine disaster or harbinger there is yet another hoax. Dr. Richard Hoover’s bacterial evidence of alien life turned out to be fraudulent; Newt Gingrich’s campaign appears permanently derailed. Hope for our species springs eternal.
In this climate of outrageous stories, one in particular still manages to make ears perk — the hilariously-named “Extreme Supermoon.” The term “Supermoon” is used by astrologers (pseudoscience pros who write the horoscopes) to describe a nearly or completely full moon that happens to be closer to the Earth than normal. On March 19th, the orbit of the moon will bring it closer to the Earth than it has been in the last 18 years, and it will simultaneously be in full phase. Astrologer Richard Nolle is responsible for crowning this particular Supermoon “Extreme,” and he believes the gravitational forces may trigger more tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.
His site, www.astropro.com, looks suspiciously like an old Geocities afternoon job, but he’s not without credible support: AccuWeather’s astronomy blogger Mark Paquette wrote,
“There were SuperMoons in 1955, 1974, 1992 and 2005. These years had their share of extreme weather and other natural events. Is the apprence of the Super Moon and these natural occurences a coincidence? Some would say yes; some would say no. I’m not here to pick sides and say I’m a believer or non-believer in subjects like this…”
Obviously the moon is responsible for tidal movements, and though correlation is not causative, one can’t help but get a shade nervous – it has been a truly strange week, and as such we perhaps should examine whether or not our final arrangements are in order. Already several news outlets are running stories musing over the possibility that this Supermoon had a hand in the recent Japanese tsunami, and bloggers appear to be sweating over it extensively. Still, there doesn’t appear to be much reason to worry.
While busy answering journalist’s questions over whether or not the tsunami could effect the West Coast (it won’t be “higher than a few feet”) and if it’s possible that something similar could happen in Washington State (“We know that it can have an earthquake of this magnitude. It’s a question of when, not if”), seismologist John Vidale also addressed the upcoming Supermoon in a interview with Life’s Little Mysteries. All historical records taken together, “you see a less-than-1-percent increase in earthquake activity, and a slightly higher response in volcanoes.”
A shame for those who fantasize doomsday scenarios, but an ease to the mind for the rest of us. The moon will be larger on the 19th than it will be in most of our lifetimes; enjoy it without worry and save the hand-wringing for, say, if Anderson will get out alright.
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