Chilean Quake Shortens the Day

An interesting factoid relating to the devastating earthquake in Chile this weekend. A NASA scientist surmises that the quake probably shifted the Earth’s axis and shortened the day. As this piece in Business Week goes on to explain:

Earthquakes can involve shifting hundreds of kilometers of rock by several meters, changing the distribution of mass on the planet. This affects the Earth’s rotation, said Richard Gross, a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who uses a computer model to calculate the effects.

“The length of the day should have gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second)... The axis about which the Earth’s mass is balanced should have moved by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8 centimeters or 3 inches)."

For more, read the complete Business Week article. And, consider donating to a Chile relief fund. Mashable tells you how...

via @slate


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