Abstract

Most natural crustal earthquakes fall into one of two categories: (1) those associated with the dynamics of plate tectonics, or (2) those associated with the elements of the hydrologic cycle. This paper presents a comprehensive listing of published examples of hydroseismicity, a hypothesis that attributes most intraplate and near-intraplate earthquakes to the dynamics of the hydrologic cycle, which includes hurricanes and typhoons. Results from 30 worldwide studies of earthquake-rainfall correlations published during the past 22 years are referenced. These investigations were conducted in both intraplate and plate marginal environments on five continents. Collectively, they provide strong support for the hydroseismicity hypothesis as a viable explanation via pore-fluid-pressure diffusion for the occurrence of many earthquakes, regardless of the host tectonic regime. Signatures of pore-fluid-pressure diffusion in the Earth’s crust are ubiquitous. Slow earthquakes result from crack development driven by pore-fluid-pressure diffusion. These earthquakes, also called silent earthquakes, take days, weeks, or even months to release energy instead of seconds or minutes as in normal earthquakes. Typhoons can trigger slow earthquakes in some areas. Hurricanes are believed to have triggered earthquakes in the eastern United States. Their explanation is provided for the most part by Biot’s theory for wave propagation and pore-fluid-pressure diffusion in poroelastic media.

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