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Geomagnetic storm, Auroras, and a large M7.1 earthquake

It was a very active 24 hours for space weather and seismic activity yesterday as a severe G4 geomagnetic storm bombarded earth’s magnetosphere with a fizzing solar wind for over 12 hours. During the peak of the storm a large magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck in the Kermadec Islands. The large quake was in the same vicinity as the great M 8.1 earthquake on 4th March 2021 which also had a foreshock of M 7.4.

An interesting coincidence between the large earthquake events was that they occurred during a strong geomagnetic solar storm. We did a post on this coincidence back in March 2021. Yesterday at the peak of the solar storm the plate boundary ruptured delivering the M7.1 . There is no direct evidence that the space and earth events are linked but it is becoming a statistically interesting topic.

Planetary k index displaying the storm's peak with a M7.1 earthquake at the same time.

For further reference on this subject, one recent scientific journal published in July 2020 named ‘On the correlation between solar activity and large earthquakes worldwide’ came up with the following conclusion. “This paper gives the first, strongly statistically significant, evidence for a high correlation between large worldwide earthquakes and the proton density near the magnetosphere, due to the solar wind. This result is extremely important for seismological research and for possible future implications on earthquake forecast”.

Another study published in February 2018 named Geomagnetic Kp Index and Earthquakes' concluded “a distinct pattern of the Kp fluctuations prior to earthquakes was found, indicating the synchronization of geomagnetic surges and seismicity”. This study found that the Japan March 2011 earthquake events also occurred at the same time of a strong incoming solar storm.

Aurora Australis captured during the solar storm. Auckland west coast credit Matthew Davison

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