For a number of years, the possibility of using astrology to accurately predict, years ahead of time, the time and place of large earthquakes has fascinated me.   In my astrological/earthquake research I have gone back over the large earthquakes to see if any simple formula might apply.   Today, the one thing of which I am certain is that there is no simple way to make long-term predictions of earthquakes by astrological means alone.   However, there are ways which are less simple to predict times when earthquakes will happen either with greater frequency or with greater magnitudes, with the unknown being the exact place.   The exact place could be determined, I believe, by our earth scientists who measure the pressure building up in fault lines.

In the course of my research (which is still going on), I have found that earthquakes from the Soviet Union are seldom announced to the world.   So one might be correct in predicting the approximate time for a large earthquake but still not hear of it.   When we do discover that the Soviet Union had a quake, it is usually a late leak and does not make headlines on the front page of any newspaper.   The same is true of quakes that occur in the ocean and in sparsely populated areas.

To understand how to predict earthquakes, an appreciation for the mechanisms involved is essential.   Please be patient as we examine each one in detail.

The earth formed at about the same time as the sun some 4.6 billion years ago.   The planet was either too hot during its early years - so much so that its heaviest elements could sink toward its center - or it formed of a core of heavy elements that later attracted the remainder of the planet by "sweeping" debris from space as the core orbited the sun.   Nevertheless, if it was not hot when it formed, it became hot later so that today the earth is very hot inside.

Most metals and other potentially crystalline substances go through three states with varying temperatures.   First, they are solid.   As they become warmer, they become liquid.   Finally, they become hot enough to be gaseous.   Water is the most common example of this phenomenon.   As ice, it is solid.   As it warms, it is liquid.   As it boils, it becomes steam, a gas.   Iron, the basic material of our machines today and the prime constituent of the earth's core, is a solid when we normally see it.   It becomes a red or nearly white-hot liquid when it is heated enough in a blast furnace.   And when heated even more in an atmosphere of nitrogen without oxygen, it becomes a gas (gaseous iron in the presence of oxygen rusts immediately).

However, pressure is important as well as temperature.   When the pressure of our atmosphere (air pressure) is lower as is the case when we are camping in the mountains, water turns to steam at a lower temperature.   This is why us campers must boil our eggs longer than we would at home (when home is close to sea level).   Since boiling occurs at a lower temperature, we must keep an egg in the boiling water longer to allow enough heat to move into the egg for it to cook.   More pressure allows water to reach a higher temperature before it boils or turns to steam.   At below-sea-level locations such as Death Valley, California, the atmospheric pressure is higher and eggs boil more quickly than they do at home.

Pressure also changes the temperature at which a substance changes from a solid to a liquid.   Under less pressure a solid can become a liquid at a lower temperature.   But under more pressure, a solid will not become a liquid until a higher temperature is reached.   The core of the earth is primarily nickel and iron, both of which change from solid to liquid to gas according to the laws of pressure and temperature which we have been examining.

As we start at the surface of the earth, the crust is cool and the pressure from the atmosphere is relatively low.   As we go into the earth, the pressure from the weight of the soil or water above causes a rise in temperature so that the material at this level becomes so hot that it turns into a thick fluid.   And as we move even deeper toward the core of our planet, the pressure becomes so high without as great a rise in temperature, that the material at this level cannot remain a fluid.   Here we have a hot, highly compressed solid.   So we have a solid core and a solid surface (crust) with a fluid layer between upon which the crust floats.

The crust floats as an iceberg floats on water.   This means that the solid crust must sink more deeply into the fluid where there is more weight and less deeply into the fluid where there is less weight.   So where mountains rise high, the crust beneath is very deep.   And where the land is flat and almost at sea level, the crust beneath does not extend very far.   The latest evidence seems to indicate that the solid continental crust extends downward at least 120 miles and very likely twice that in some places.   The crust below the ocean is much less and also varies according to its nearness to things we call rifts, subduction zones, hot spots, continental shelves, etc.

The fluid layer between the crust and the core is thought to be at least 3,000 miles thick but the transition from solid to fluid and back to solid is very gradual and varies with temperature and pressure.   The temperature is not the same at all points along the bottom of the crust.   This fluid layer is very viscous (thick like molasses) so that it moves very slowly.   Even though this fluid layer can and does move, it is the outer fringe of the deeper layers in which pressure is the dominating factor.   From the bottom of the fluid layer down, the fluid becomes increasingly more solid.   At a much greater depth, the rigidity is estimated to be about four times that of steel as we know it.   Bear in mind that these figures change from time to time due to various scientific opinions changing.

The viscosity (thickness as in molasses) is great enough in the fluid layer to slow the rate of continental sinking and rising, to exert horizontal force when it flows against the bottom of the crust, and to conduct earthquake waves from within it and through it.

The crust is not whole throughout because it has been broken many times since it was formed - and continents have formed, divided, and been newly formed from the different pieces.   In many places, one part of the crust overrides another part.   The seafloor is composed partly of "rifts" which are in ridges where the molten rock of the fluid layer beneath rises through the cracks in the crust.   Other parts of the seafloor are trenches (some over 35,000 feet deep) where one part of the crust overrides another.   The ocean floor moves away from the rifts on one or both sides.   Sometimes the rift moves as well.   The motion of the ocean floor spreading (or growing) means that it must disappear where the leading edges meet obstacles - or else the obstacles must move.

The trenches are places where one plate (piece of seafloor) overrides another so that the lower plate moves back down into the molten layer beneath and, in doing so, grinds off part of the upper plate edge.   Also, at the continental shelves (edges of the continents), the crust of the ocean bottom tends to tuck under and be re-absorbed into the molten (fluid) layer beneath.   And sometimes, the crust merely slides against another portion of itself to form a "fault line".

It can be shown that the ocean floor slides away from the rifts at rates from half an inch to four and one-half inches each year.   When new crust forms at the rifts, it usually begins to sink as it moves away, the sink rate averaging about three and one-half inches every thousand years for the first ten million years, and at slower rates thereafter.   However, not all crust sinks and some has remained at the same level for twenty million years.

The continents, formed of pieces of many generations of past continents, ride upon the molten layer like ships upon a frozen sea, and are pushed around by the spreading seafloor in seemingly random patterns of motion.   The motive power for all this motion is debatable, but three theories are seriously proposed today.

1.   The plastic or liquid layer is heated and cooled so that it rises in some parts of the world and descends in other parts.   It rises where there are rifts, partly accounting for the presence of ridges.   It flows horizontally in the direction of seafloor spreading and then descends where one part of the crust moves below another.   The friction of the flowing liquid layer against the crust above would force the crust outward from the rift.

2.   Each part of the crust is high at the rift and low at the subduction zone (where one part of the crust moves beneath another part).   This causes the parts of the crust to slide downward with the liquid layer acting as a stiff lubricant.   In this case, gravity is the force that moves the crust.

3.   It has been found that certain types of lava can absorb water and swell.   When the upwelling of lava (fluid) at the rift occurs, the lava cools and swells as the seawater is absorbed by it, and it can then push the crust outward on either side of it which, in turn, creates more cracks for lava to come upward, cool, absorb water, swell, and push the crust on either side outward.

As each of the proposed mechanisms will produce force, possibly each is partly responsible and all work together in varying degrees to produce the force necessary for continents to drift and to experience earthquakes.

The continents are either composed of one unit or crust each or more than one.   Even when there is but one, that one is composed of many pieces of past continents.   When more than one unit of crust is present, the units are separated by what we call "fault lines" which are lines where two parts of the continental crust (called cratons) meet.

Parts of the crust that form continents begin at what is called the continental shelf where the crust that forms the ocean bottom slides beneath the continent.   The continental crust is called a craton and the ocean bottom crust is called a plate.   As the plate slides beneath the craton, it rubs against the craton and attempts to push it.   This pushing force sometimes causes mountains to rise and earthquakes to occur.   In the deep oceanic trenches where plate slides beneath plate, the rubbing and slipping also causes earthquakes.   And where there are fault lines as craton rubs against craton, earthquakes are produced.   Sometimes there is vertical rubbing and slippage as one part of the crust sinks or another part rises, and this as well as horizontal motion causes quakes.

Technically, it might be proper to call an earthquake with its epicenter in an ocean a "seaquake".   But it is not the sea that slipped - it is the sea bottom or earth interior.

Deep earthquakes usually have epicenters falling within a plane starting at the floor of a deep trench and extending downward at a 45 degree angle.   Thus, it is thought the slippage of a plate beneath another plate is the cause of the quakes even though the epicenter is deep within the fluid layer itself.

The most intense earthquake activity occurs in the zone of the trenches, and almost all of the major earthquakes originate there.

Generally speaking, earthquakes occur whenever one plate or craton must slip against another.   This can be due to one plate or craton sinking vertically against another, moving horizontally against another, or moving at an angle between vertical and horizontal against one another.   This slipping is how stored energy is suddenly released.   Resistance to slipping is caused by friction between parts of crust.   The friction causes long periods of no slipping so that forces can build up from ocean floor spreading.   When the force is sufficient to overcome the friction preventing the slipping, a slip occurs, producing an earthquake.

Theoretically, if one continually greased the areas of friction, major earthquakes would cease to occur.   In fact, water or oil spilling into a fault zone may help to produce slipping by reduction of friction.   Such early slipping due to lubrication prevents the build-up of force necessary to produce a larger quake.

The farther one is from an epicenter of a quake, the less intense is the effect of the quake unless, of course, one is in the path of tsunami produced by a quake with its epicenter at sea.   Most of us land people feel the effects of quakes as either tidal waves (tsunamis) from submarine quakes or as motion of the earth from fault line activities.

Now we come to the phenomenon called tides.   Tides are caused by the gravitational attraction (pull) of one celestial body upon another.   The moon pulling upon the surface of the earth, for instance, produces a bulge in the atmosphere (air tide), the water (sea tide), and the land (land tide) as it passes overhead.   The moon is small, but is also very close.   Its pull upon the far side of the earth is less that its pull upon the near side, which is why it produces a tidal distortion upon the earth's surface.   The sun is large, but it is farther away.   So the difference between its pull upon the far side of the earth and near side is not so great as in the case of the moon.   The other planets (Venus and Jupiter particularly) also produce tidal forces upon the earth.

The highest tides (greatest pulls) occur when the planets (including the sun and moon) align themselves either in conjunction or opposition.   When, for instance, at new moon the sun and moon align to pull upon one side of the earth, the effect is as if one were attempting to pull the skin off an onion.

When at full moon, the moon pulls opposite the sun, something similar occurs.

When the zone of maximum stress coincides with an earthquake fault zone, the forces tend to pull apart the crust on either side of the fault so that friction between cratons is reduced and one part of the crust may then slip against the other.   Also, strong tides distort the surface of the earth and move heavy bodies of water horizontally to cause more stress on areas of friction regardless of where they may be.

Tides act as the earth turns on a 24 hour cycle.   This short cycle rides upon longer cycles caused by varying positions of celestial bodies and their consequent effects.   During times of decreasing tidal forces, quakes do not usually occur.   This applies to the short interval (24 hours) and the larger intervals based upon planetary positions.   Quakes usually happen when tidal forces are growing.   The dominant force is the one to which we must pay the most attention.

For instance, when the earth is approaching perihelion (closest point to the sun) the solar tide is growing.   But if, at the same time, the moon is approaching apogee (farthest distance from the earth) midway in time from perigee (closest point) to apogee, the tidal forces due to the moon will be lessening faster than those due to the sun can increase.   In other words, the overall effect is a lessening of the tidal forces and no major quake will occur.

Earthquakes happen near tidal force heights because there are always steady forces attempting to cause plates and cratons to slide.   But the times of least friction to prevent sliding, and increased force due to tidal effects will be when there are maximum tides (maximum disruptive force).   This is like an aerialist performing in a circus.   He practices or performs publicly once a day regularly.   He also gets drunk every 80 hours.   And he is slowly becoming less agile and more prone to mistakes.   When he finally hurts himself due to his lessening agility, it will probably be at one of the times when he is practicing or performing.   His worst mistakes will occur when one of his drinking periods coincides with a practice period or performance.   And his most demeaning time will occur when he is giving a public performance at the same time he is drunk.   It is all a matter of cycles coinciding.

After each slip between any particular parts of the crust, there must be a time for pressure to build again before a new slip can occur between those parts.   Such a slip can place additional pressure on other nearby faults and when they also slip, pressure can transfer back to the initial fault or point of slippage.   This is what usually causes what we call aftershocks, small earthquakes closely following a larger one.   Often, the relieving of stress at one location will transfer more stress to a number of distant locations, eventually leading to quakes in other places.

In regard to astrological earthquake calculations, the moon is by far the strongest factor.   But because it moves about the earth very quickly compared to the other planets, we usually think of it as merely a triggering body.   It is much more.

The moon moves in an ellipse with apogee being the farthest point from earth, and perigee being the closest point to earth.   The key to discovering how close the moon is, is its motion.   The moon moves fastest at perigee and slowest at apogee.   Its motion may be found by going to the daily positions in the ephemeris and calculating the motion for each day.   The faster the moon goes, the more the angle covered in a day.   The day when the moon moves most is the day when it is at perigee.   Apogee is just the opposite both in method (least distance covered in a day) and in actual position (180 degrees from perigee).   But there is orbital precession which causes apogee and perigee to shift slightly from one time to the next.

Once you have identified either a time when the moon reaches it slowest speed and then speeds up again, or its fastest speed and then slows down again, you can be sure that you have the general location of apogee or perigee.   If you find apogee, add or subtract about 15 days and then check to see if you have perigee.   Or, if you find perigee, add or subtract 15 days and then check to see if you have apogee.   This is not the most precise method, but it is close enough for the type of work we are doing now.

The plane of the earth's orbit about the earth (actually the earth and moon move about one another, but you may ignore this for now) is not the same as that of the ecliptic (path of the sun through the zodiac or earth's orbital plane).   So there are times when the moon passes through the ecliptic.   We call the points where the moon passes, nodes.   When the moon is at nearly the nodal position during the new or full moon, the moon's declination will be almost the same as the sun's and the moon, earth, and the sun will all be in line.   This nearly perfect alignment will result in either a solar or a lunar eclipse.

The ancient astrologers were very concerned about eclipses, both solar and lunar.   These were times of maximum stress on the earth's surface.   Tidal forces are greater during eclipses or near eclipses.   If perigee for the moon and/or perihelion for earth occur at the same time, the tides will be very high (check the alignments at the last big quake in Mexico City).

The moon is a rapidly moving body whose full cycle relative to the sun is only about thirty days.   It is very powerful with a tidal effect which is about twice that of the sun and an effect at perigee that is over 30% greater than that at apogee.   The rotation of the earth, which produces a bulge at the equator due to what is called centrifugal force, enhances the apparent speed and power of the moon.   Here is one more item to look for when you look for a possible earthquake.   See if the line-ups mentioned are close to the earth's equator (declination almost zero).   Still, the moon is a trigger.

Really high tides can occur when all or most of the foregoing are roughly aligned and the other planets are also favorable for high tidal force.   And this is where aspects begin to come into the picture as well.   This is largely due to something called resonance.

The earth rotates once every 24 hours.   Your hometown rises and falls slightly every time the sun and moon or even one of the other planets is passing overhead.   The earth's surface has a tendency to spring back too far after it rises (inertia), so that it falls too far and must spring back up again.   The action is like what happens when you hang something on a rubber band.   If you pull the object down, it bounces up and down several times after you let go.   However, the "bounce" of the earth is much slower.

If planets are positioned to encourage the bounce, their effects are going to be "resonant" or reinforcing to the bounce.   If planets are positioned to discourage the bounce, their effects are going to be dampening or the opposite of resonant.   Multiples of 60 degrees appear to be resonant in regard to earthquakes.   If resonance is not the answer, then it is still true that quakes are more likely to occur when planets are either conjunct, sextiling, trining, or opposing - or when several planets align themselves so that their resultant forces are either conjunct, sextiling, trining, or opposing.

When either positions of planets or resultant force alignents are squaring, it is a stabilizing influence for reasons too difficult to explain here, and there will be very little chance of an earthquake of very sizable proportions.   This is a time when tides will also be lowest.

Earthquakes usually occur after a square has broken and a sextile, trine, conjunction, or opposition is forming.

Tides, when the moon is at perigee are called perigean tides and at apogee, apogean tides.   These tides lag the actual moon position by about a day and a half.   The shifting weight of the water is a consideration in predicting earthquakes.   This delay or lag varies from one place to the next according to the ocean floor's shape, the depth of the ocean at any particular location, the placement of the continents, the geographical shape of the land masses, etc.   Also, the planetary configuration can make a difference.   In short, the precise time of a large earthquake is very difficult to predict.   The time can be off by as much as two days.   Since the precise amount of force needed, or lack of friction necessary, to have a quake at any particular place is not known, a quake can be triggered prematurely by lesser forces than those you are examining.   Sometimes the premature quake will be larger than the one you were expecting.   But each of these quakes does occur at a predictable time even though the larger quake may not be coincident with the larger forces available.

The recent Mexico City quake caused me to look at current conditions again and led me to believe that a larger quake would occur on about October 16, 1985, about a month later.   I was unable to get the details of the quake that occurred in the Soviet Union that day, but I do believe it was larger judging from what little I could discover.   This is typical of this inexact science.   The Mexico City quake did lag the predicted time after the moon passed perigee, the north node was properly aligned, the moon sextiled the sun.

There are some clean-up items to mention.   Venus has a much stronger effect when it is closer.   This is especially true as it is the planet which passes closest to the earth other than the moon.   To a lesser extent, the same it true of all the planets, so realize that when they are on our side of the sun, they have a greater effect.   Also, the sun's force is greater when the earth is at perihelion and that is when your ephemeris shows a faster daily motion for the sun.

If you would like to check out some or these things for yourself, some good examples are Assam, India, June 12, 1987; San Francisco, California, April 18, 1906; Chile, August 17, 1906; Columbia, January 31, 1906; Netherlands & India, August 26-28, (when Krakatoa erupted); Northern Algeria, September 9, 1954; Northern Iran, July 2, 1957; Kansu, China, December 16, 1920; Papua Territory, New Guinea, January 18-21, 1951; Yokohama and Tokyo, Japan, September 1, 1923; Iran, September 1, 1962; and Messina, Sicily, December 28, 1908.

This paper only goes into the known forces to date that seem to contribute to earthquakes (and volcanoes).   New things are being discovered now about the solar wind, the magnetosphere, and the way solar flares influence the earth.   The factors involved are very comprehensive and do seem to influence us in many ways.   It appears that we are only beginning to explore the forces which rule us.

Copyright (C) 1986