As The World Turns: Chile Earthquake Shifted Earth’s Axis by About 3 Inches
Have you been feeling slightly more in the dark these last few days? Literally. This is crazy but apparently the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile Saturday was so strong it knocked the Earth a few degrees off its axis and shortened our days. Not a joke.
The quake, the seventh strongest earthquake in recorded history, hit Chile Saturday and should have shortened the length of an Earth day by 1.26 milliseconds, according to research scientist Richard Gross at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
“Perhaps more impressive is how much the quake shifted Earth’s axis,” NASA officials said in a Monday update.
The computer model used by Gross and his colleagues to determine the effects of the Chile earthquake effect also found that it should have moved Earth’s figure axis by about 3 inches (8 cm or 27 milliarcseconds).
Um. Actually, something similar happened during the 2004 earthquake that resulted in the tsunami was, but not quite as bad (6.8 microseconds was lost … a microsecond is shorter than a millisecond, or so I am told by people who know these sorts of things). Anyway, the point being, that if the planet keeps of this pace of revolt (hurricanes, earthquakes, snow, etc) we find ourselves bumping into the moon one of these days. At which point, some media outlets will be forced to admit that climate change is probably real.
(this post originally appeared on Mediaite.)