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?
- FionaLv 59 years agoFavorite 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.
- 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...
- Fly InvertedLv 69 years ago
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.
- PaulLv 79 years ago
The effect of the moon's gravitational pull on the earth's plate tectonics is insignificant.
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- NeoNerdLv 79 years ago
It can, but it's not a major factor.