BERKELEY, Calif. (KTVU) - Does earthquake weather exist? “Absolutely not.” That was the point-blank answer we got from U.S. Geological Survey’s Annemarie Baltay, a research geophysicist.
At high-noon on Wednesday the East Bay Hills experienced a 3.0 magnitude temblor on the Hayward Fault that was felt as far away as Walnut Creek. As you know, parts of the East Bay have been reaching triple-digit temperatures as we’re in the midst of a heat wave.
The serious science of earthquake plate tectonics is often overshadowed by folklore that has persisted for centuries, yet the USGS in Menlo Park is the nation's premier think tank and repository of earthquake information.
"Earthquake weather doesn't exist, and, we have actually looked at that question and found that it does not exist scientifically. We have studied that. There's no such thing as earthquake weather,” Baltay said.
She continued to reason, “In fact, we have earthquakes occurring today all over the world. Obviously many of those places are very cold right now. It’s winter in South America and cold in Alaska.”
There's more proof from just the last 30 days on the USGS website on earthquakes around the world.
Looking at the Ring of Fire around the Pacific Ocean, yes, there is earthquake activity on the West Coast where it's warm right now. But there's also a lot of activity up in Alaska, the Aleutian Islands and northern Asia where it's very cold right now. There’s also a lot of activity in Australia where it's temperate.
"In fact, the California Plate margin is less active typically. You're talking the Ring of Fire; Japan, Sumatra or the South Pacific or Chile," says the USGS's Baltay.
Magnitude 3 earthquakes are regular events all along the Ring of Fire and the many other areas of the planet where earthquakes are common.
Baltay says the USGS does have a 30-year forecast for two-thirds probability for the Bay Area to have a magnitude 6.7 earthquake or higher.
“This small earthquake is just a reminder that we live in earthquake country,” she said.
So why does this earthquake weather theory persist? Our anchor got shutdown pretty quickly when he asked Baltay on air.
“I hate to say it, but you’re making it happen right now by discussing it. It’s just what people associate in their minds.”
So there you have it. It’s human nature’s way of trying to understand something they don’t understand. Kill the theory.