Days are now shorter thanks to Chilean Earthquake

According to NASA, the recent Chilean earthquake that took hundreds of lives also took away a part of the day. Just how much? With the magnitude of the quake, Earth’s axis has been tilted by roughly 3 inches (2.7 milliarcseconds to be exact) shortening the day by 1.26 microseconds. In the great expanse of time, Earth has probably lost a full minute if it had experienced numerous earthquakes each year, tilting the axis by inches every time (of course this only happes with quakes having magnitudes that move thousands of cubic miles worth of rock — the recent Chilean quake measured 8.8 on the Richter).

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.

And it makes sense, really as most land masses we know see as the continents were product of erosions. Watch any timeline of the earth during its younger years and you will see the land masses terraform themselves into what we see today. Well … err that’s it really. Life goes on. But know this — the day is has just gotten even shorter. Forever.


[image c/o Wikipedia]

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