NASA Scientist: Chile Earthquake Shortened Days
Have you been feeling lately that you can’t get it all a done in a day’s time? As if the day has been shortened? You may be right. Says scientist Richard Gross at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
Gross says the seventh strongest earthquake in history which struck Chile climbing the Richter scale at 8.8 may have altered the entire Earth’s rotation and shortened the length of days on our planet earth. He also thinks this change is going to be permanent.
By using sophisticated computer modeling Gross and his colleagues determined that the February 27th Chile earthquake might have moved Earth’s figure axis by about three inches. The earth’s mass is balanced around its figure axis, which is different from its magnetic axis, or north-south axis, with a shift of 33 feet. The earth rotates around figure axis with a speed nearly 1,000 mile per hour. The shift in the axis results in reduction of the time the earth takes to complete one rotation around the sun.
Even though these estimates are only preliminary and might change as more data is analyzed, the phenomenon is not novel.
The 9.1 Richter scale Sumatran earthquakes in 2004, which was many times more severe than the Chilean quake had also shifted the earth-axis and shortened days although by lesser magnitudes. The reason the effect of the Chilean earthquake is more pronounced is because it occurred in Earth’s mid-latitudes, where as the Sumatran quake took place near the equator.
The truth is most people cannot feel the results of the shortened day since it is only 1.26 microseconds, a micro second being just one millionth of a second.