Does the gravitational pull of the moon affect plate tectonics?

I was wondering if the gravitational force of the moon has significant enough power to affect plate tectonics of the earth. If so, to what degree?

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  • Fiona
    Lv 5
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The gravitational pull flexes the entire Earth's crust by several metres up and down. It does not tug continental plates around with it though.

    If anything the Moon prevents rather than causes earthquakes. Earthquakes occur when there is no relative movement for a sustained period causing a build up of pressure which must eventually be released in a sudden movement. The repeated joggling of the plates caused by tidal forces helps to prevent such jams occurring, in favour of more gradual and therefore less harmful movement.

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  • 9 years ago

    Yes, the moon affects the tides, and this tidal friction exhibits a certain amount of force on the plates as well. George Moore wrote an excellent article about this entitled "Westward Tidal Lag as the Driving Force of Plate Tectonics".

    Source(s): You can find the article here: http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/reprint/1/3...
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  • 9 years ago

    Yes !

    It is not a "driving force" for plate tectonics, but it does cause tidal effects on land and on individual plates, which can cause the release of tension between plates, causing an earthquake. It is a contributing factor.

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  • Paul
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    The effect of the moon's gravitational pull on the earth's plate tectonics is insignificant.

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  • 9 years ago

    It can, but it's not a major factor.

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