The moon is next week scheduled to make its closest approach to Earth in nearly 20 years.

On March 19 the moon will approach to within just 221,567 miles – the closest since 1992.

Those who believe in the moon’s power to induce natural disasters point to the fact previous “supermoons” coincided with the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and Cyclone Tracy, which devastated the Australian city of Darwin in 1974, but scientists insist there is no link.

Pete Wheeler, of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy, told the website “There will be no earthquakes or volcanoes erupting, unless they are to happen anyway.

“The Earth will experience just a lower than usual low tide and a higher than usual high tide around the time of the event, but nothing to get excited about.”

David Reneke, an Australian astronomer, added: “If you try hard enough you can chronologically associate almost any natural disaster or event to anything in the night sky.