Chile Earthquake Knocked Earth off its Axis
The 8.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated Chile last Saturday has knocked the earth off its axis – seriously! According to The New York Daily News, NASA scientist Richard Gross said the quake moved the earth’s axis by three inches, and it may have also made our planet’s days shorter.
The earthquake, which killed hundreds and spawned powerful aftershocks and tsunamis, has shortened the day by 1.26 microseconds, the scientist determined, using a complex model he and others developed. The Earth’s rotation was likely affected by the shift in the planet’s mass, which could cause it to spin faster.
Scientists believe other quakes, such as the 2004 9.1-magnitude earthquake in have also decreased the Earth’s day. That quake is believed to have shortened it by 6.8 microseconds, and altered the axis by nearly 7 inches.
Will this affect our weather? Scientists say the axis change is too minor. The planet’s tilt influences the seasons, allowing for winter, spring, summer and fall, and it would take a far greater change in the Earth’s axis to affect them.
Imagine if there were more quakes that eventually shortened our days by a full minute. That would be 365 minutes, or just over 6 hours a year. If you lived for 80 years, that would be 480 hours, or 20 days. Hmm…20 days younger…guess we’ll still need that anti-wrinkle cream!