Snow melt may trigger earthquakes

Heki, K., Science, 293, 89-92, 2001.
Heki, K., Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 207, 159-164, 2003.

Large portion of the seasonal signatures in GPS site coordinate time series in Japan can be explained by snow loads along the Japan Sea side of the backbone range of the arc. Snow loads decrease Coulomb failure stress by "clamping" faults (i.e. increasing compression normal to the fault plane). Spring thaw thus may trigger inland earthquakes, which is consistent with the tendency in historical disasterous earthquakes in Japan that they occur more in spring and summer (right panel is the article in Asahi Newspaper). Snow plays a role of "keystone" that keeps the underground catfish from moving (left panel).