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Monday, March 14, 2011

Coming Saturday—the March Supermoon!

This Saturday, March 19, the moon will swing around Earth more closely than it has in the past eighteen years, lighting up the night sky from just 221,567 miles (356,577 kilometers) away. 

Could this cause real damage? Noted astrologer, Richard Nolle, who runs the website, has calls the upcoming full moon a “lunar perigee” (a moon taking its closest approach during orbit) an "extreme supermoon." He claims chaos will ensue: huge storms, earthquakes, volcanoes and other natural disasters. 

How much do you believe in the mysticism of astrology? In light of the horrific and desperate recent events occurring in Japan, I doubt any of us want to believe his prediction.

There are normal measurable effects the moon has on the Earth. The moon is close enough to Earth to produce ocean tides. Also, the moon’s gravity brings about small oscillating movements of the continents, called land tide or solid Earth tides. These are greatest during full and new moons, when sun and moon are aligned either on the same or opposite sides of the Earth.

According to John Vidale, a seismologist at the University of Washington in Seattle and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, "Both the moon and sun do stress the Earth a tiny bit, and when we look hard we can see a very small increase in tectonic activity when they're aligned.” During full and new moons, "you see a less-than-one-percent increase in earthquake activity, and a slightly higher response in volcanoes.”

According to William Wilcock, seismologist also at the University of Washington, earthquake activity in subduction zones, like the Pacific Northwest, is ten percent higher at low tides than at the times of high tides. Water pressure at high tide clamps the fault together, while when low, with less water pressure, it’s easier for a fault to slip.

And will the Supermoon cause greater effects? Those quoted above say the gravitational pull of the lunar pedigree moon does not increase enough to significantly change height of tides and thus the likelihood of natural disasters is nil.
Folklore describes the March full moon as a time of change in nature. It is called the Worm Moon, being at the time of snow thaw when worms begin to appear and become a source of food for returning robins. Northern American Indian tribes knew this moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter. It’s also named the Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, when the sap flows. 

I hope changes of spring are the only ones this March full moon heralds. Watch for its rise this Saturday night.

References: Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to
Art reference: Crossie


Pat Dale said...

Hi Marsha,
I hope along with you that we don't have any serious results from the moon's perigree. It makes ssense that there will be some result of having it this near. Let's hope it is minimal, other than such 'romaantic' alliances as may happen this time of year. LOL
Pat Dale

Alyssa Ast said...

Very thought provoking post. I can't wait to see what March has in store for me.

Marsha A. Moore said...

These mystical predictions kind of make me shake, considering what has happened recently in Japan.

Alyssa and Pat,thanks for your comments. Let's hope the promise of spring is all this moon brings.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Wow, this is really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Emily Pikkasso said...

Hi Marsha, Love the pic of the moon and crow. Hopefully some of the changes will include a swing in human thought and mankind will wake up and start to realize the damage we are doing to the earth.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Hi Nicole. Thanks for visiting!

Yes, Nancy, very true. We need to embrace the fact we are affecting this planet negatively.