Extreme weather events may set off quakes and recognizing those patterns may help us better forecast tremors.
Cyclones, hurricanes and monsoons add stresses that can interact with the timing of tectonic stresses triggering earthquakes.
Someday, scientists may be able to use weather patterns to help forecast the timing of impending earthquakes.
Monsoons, hurricanes and other extreme weather events may trigger earthquakes when faults are ready to rumble.
The new research presented this week at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting in San Francisco does not suggest that all earthquakes are caused by storms or that all storms cause quakes. But by identifying some of the many conditions that put stress on faults, the new work may help scientists better forecast future tremors.
Experts hope to develop more accurate ways to warn the public before massive devastation ensues.
"There's a holy grail for any geophysicist being able to one day predict earthquakes," said Thomas Ader, a graduate student in geophysics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "All we're doing now is trying to understand, after earthquakes happen, why they happened."