I read on an Answers Website:

"While tectonic plates are independent, some scientists believe that a seismic event thousands of miles away can trigger another seismic event. (So, some believe the Japan quake may have triggered the Chile quake.) "

The answerer has provided this source: http://justanothercoverup.com/?p=838

So is this true?

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    I'm real skeptical of a site called "justanothercoverup.com". Mar 6, 2011 at 21:41
  • 2
    And even more skeptical of one called "The Political bandit" who says "I am nothing more than a patriotic American [...] extremely concerned in regard the slow creep of soft fascism" Mar 11, 2011 at 17:17
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    Also note that the website miserably fails to cite any sources. Mar 11, 2011 at 17:18
  • Related: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/921/…
    – Oddthinking
    May 11, 2013 at 15:42

2 Answers 2


I don't have any absolute answers to this, I'll just gonna offer a skeptical view on the statements. :)

There are in average about 2-3 earth quakes over a magnitude of 5 per day. If earthquakes can cause another earth quake eleven thousand miles away (as in the case of Japan and Chile) that means that any quake can be "caused" by any other quake. In some sense this is quite possible, there is just one crust, and there is no doubt that one quake can cause other quakes along the same fault line, that is in fact what aftershocks are. After a big quake the tensions in the faultline has moved, and you may more earthquakes along that line for some time. This was the case when Turkey got two big quakes close after each other, and that certainly was the case after Chiles big quake last year, that was followed by many significant quakes/aftershocks in the months afterwards.

But when extending the claim from "along the same faultline" to "anywhere on earth", then the statements becomes impossible to prove or disprove. Any earthquake can now suddenly be caused by any other earthquake that happened anywhere on earth within the last month. OK, but which one? And how? The claim becomes meaningless, and you are in fact just saying that earthquakes creates more earthquakes, which is just another way of saying that earthquakes is caused by the movements in the earths crust, which in turn isn't much different from saying that "because the crust moves, the crust moves".

So saying that the Chilean earthquake was caused by the Japanese earthquake is either nonsense or a tautology, depending on your point of view. :-)

(About the statement in the blog that earthquakes are increasing, UCSG has some answers, and they also point out that earthquake clustering is normal in a random distribution and does not imply a causal relation between the earthquakes.)

  • Please provide some references to support your claims (including average number of quakes per day.) This is also largely a "logic" answer...
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 8, 2011 at 0:36
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    Yes, and I think the answer is fine as it is. You can't prove non-existence, and there is no references that idiocy is idiotic. Logic is the only possibility, and this answer is the best possible. Aug 8, 2011 at 20:36

The substantiation for this article was contained within other articles that had been published by ThePoliticalBandit.com and are cited below. I find it extremely sad that people still deny the science that has substantiated this theory and is denied along with the fact that Climate Change is responsible for the increase in earthquake/volcanic activity.

Big Earthquakes Spark Jolts Worldwide

ScienceDaily (May 26, 2008) — Until 1992, when California’s magnitude-7.3 Landers earthquake set off small jolts as far away as Yellowstone National Park, scientists did not believe large earthquakes sparked maller tremors at distant locations. Now, a definitive study shows large earthquakes routinely trigger smaller jolts worldwide, including on the opposite side of the planet and in areas not prone to quakes.

“Previously it was thought seismically active regions or geothermal areas were most vulnerable to large earthquake triggers,” says Kris Pankow, a seismologist at the University of Utah Seismograph Stations and a co-author of the new study.

But Pankow and colleagues analyzed 15 major earthquakes stronger than magnitude-7.0 since 1992, and found that at least 12 of them triggered small quakes hundreds and even thousands of miles away, according to the findings published online May 25, 2008 in the journal Nature Geoscience.

“We conclude that dynamic triggering is a ubiquitous phenomenon,” they wrote.

Scientists previously noted that those three major quakes triggered not only nearby aftershocks, but small quakes at great distances. The new study is the first to systematically analyze all the world’s big quakes during 1992-2006 and find that most of them triggered distant, smaller tremors. These are different than aftershocks, which occur fairly close to the main quake. After the devastating 2004 Sumatra earthquake, triggered quakes even occurred in Ecuador, on the opposite side of the Earth. http://www.sciencedaily.com/re...


Large Earthquakes Trigger A Surge In Volcanic Eruptions

ScienceDaily (Jan. 12, 2009) — New evidence showing that very large earthquakes can trigger an increase in activity at nearby volcanoes has been uncovered by Oxford University scientists.

An analysis of records in southern Chile has shown that up to four times as many volcanic eruptions occur during the year following very large earthquakes than in other years. This ‘volcanic surge’ can affect volcanoes up to at least 500 km away from an earthquake’s epicentre.

‘The most unexpected part of this discovery was the considerable distance from the earthquake rupture where these eruptions took place, and the length of time for which we saw increased volcanic activity,’ said Sebastian Watt, a Dphil student in Oxford’s Department of Earth Sciences, who conducted the analysis.

‘This suggests that seismic waves, radiating from the earthquake rupture, may trigger an eruption by stirring or shaking the molten rock beneath volcanoes. The disturbances that result from this lead to eruption but, because of the time it takes for pressure to build up inside a volcano and for magma to move towards the surface, an eruption may not occur until some months after the earthquake,’ Sebastian added. http://www.sciencedaily.com/re...

  • hmmm since when has science even proven that there has been an increase in "Climate Change (that) is responsible for the increase in earthquake/volcanic activity." ?? news to me. This CC stuff comes in cycles, we are in the middle of one, which does not mean that it is "increasing". Mar 22, 2011 at 23:49
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    This could do with an edit to remove the controversial (and unreferenced) claim about climate change, to fix the broken links to the blog, ideally to add references to the original papers, and to better excerpt the key points from the articles.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 8, 2011 at 0:41

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