Because the rate of stress change from the Earth tides exceeds that from tectonic stress accumulation, tidal triggering of earthquakes would be expected if the final hours of loading of the fault were at the tectonic rate and if rupture began soon after the achievement of a critical stress level. We analyze the tidal stresses and stress rates on the fault planes and at the times of 13,042 earthquakes which are so close to the San Andreas and Calaveras faults in California that we may take the fault plane to be known. We find that the stresses and stress rates from Earth tides at the times of earthquakes are distributed in the same way as tidal stresses and stress rates at random times. While the rate of earthquakes when the tidal stress promotes failure is 2% higher than when the stress does not, this difference in rate is not statistically significant. This lack of tidal triggering implies that preseismic stress rates in the nucleation zones of earthquakes are at least 0.15 bar/h just preceding seismic failure, much above the long-term tectonic stress rate of 10-4 bar/h.
Additional publication details
Absence of earthquake correlation with Earth tides: An indication of high preseismic fault stress rate