NASA: Quake Shifted Earth's Axis,
Condensed by Native Village
NASA scientists say Chile's huge
earthquake may have changed how
Earth's overall mass is distributed.
Because of this, our days are
now a little shorter.
The reason is that sudden changes in
the Earth's tectonic plates can alter
"The length of the day should have
gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds
[millionths of a second]," said
Richard Gross from NASA. "The axis
about which the Earth's mass is
balanced should have moved by 2.7 milliarcseconds [about 8 centimeters
or 3 inches]."
The speed of earth's rotation
also increased after 2004's earthquake
near Sumatra, Indonesia.
That 9.1 earthquake shortened the
length of an Earth day by 6.8
David Kerridge heads the Earth
hazards and systems at the British
Geological Survey. He compares the change in rotation speed
to a figure skater's arms as she
draws them close to her body while
spinning. "As she pulls her
arms in, she gets faster and
faster," he said. "It's
the same idea with the Earth going
around: If you change the
distribution of mass, the rotation
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