Earth’s Axis Shifts one-millionth of a second

Researcher Richard Gross and his colleagues at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California calculated that Saturday’s 8.8-magnitude quake could have cut 1.26 microseconds off the length of a day.

The BBC and other major media reports revealed that according to Richard Gross, the Earthquake that hit Chile, Saturday on 27th February,2010 has brought about some permanent changes in the geography of the earth.Richard Gross, a geophysicist working with the NASA, has reported that the  effects of the Chile earthquake are being compared to those that had been brought about by the earthquake that had struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra, back in 2004. Strangely enough, measuring at 9.1 in the Richter Scale, that quake had been far greater in magnitude than the one that struck Chile. However, the effects of the recent quake on the earth have been far greater.

The Sumatra earthquake had caused a noticeable shift in the tectonic plates of the earth, causing a distinct transformation in the geography. It had also caused the earth’s axis to shift about 7cms, a little less than the Chile earthquake, which caused an 8cm shift in the earth’s axis. Moreover, the earthquake has also resulted in an increase of the velocity of the rotation of the earth. Consequently, the length of each day has also shortened a little, by about 1.26 millionth of a second.

Richard Gross explains that the shift in the earth’s axis and the change in speed caused by the Chile earthquake occurred as it had been a thrust earthquake, casing one plate to shift under the other. The calculations were done by Richard Gross in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the NASA, in which he took the help of a complicated mathematical model. However, the calculations cannot be taken to be perfect, as so far, the scientists can only measure the speed of the earth’s rotation to about 1/20th of a second.

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