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Pale In Her Anger

On March 19th, the Moon will come the closest it's been to Earth in 18 years and, of course, astrologers are predicting doom. Oddly enough, however, it would appear as though such concerns about a "Super Moon"  occurrence are not completely unfounded:

... scientists have studied related scenarios for decades. Even under normal conditions, the moon is close enough to Earth to make its weighty presence felt: It causes the ebb and flow of the ocean tides.
The moon's gravity can even cause small but measureable ebbs and flows in the continents, called "land tides" or "solid Earth tides," too. The tides are greatest during full and new moons, when the 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, particularly dramatic land and ocean tides do trigger earthquakes. "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," Vidale told Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to SPACE.com.
As a bit of an outer space geek, I'll readily admit to being a tad excited about March 19th now. Hopefully the world won't come to an end, but it would be neat if the Moon's close orbit did do something noteworthy. It's at times like these that I miss Jack Horkheimer.


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