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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