NASA: Chile Quake Actually Shifted Earth’s Axis, Shortened Day


CHILEApart from claiming the lives of hundreds of people and wreaking enormous property damage, Chile’s massive earthquake has likely altered the distribution of the Earth’s overall mass, scientists from NASA say. As a result, the length of a day is now a little shorter than it was before the magnitude 8.8 earthquake on Shabbos.”The length of the day should have gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds [millionths of a second],” Richard Gross, a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told Bloomberg. “The axis about which the Earth’s mass is balanced should have moved by 2.7 milliarcseconds [about 8 centimeters or 3 inches].”

The speed that the Earth rotates also increased slightly in 2004 following the earthquake that struck off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. That 9.1 earthquake shortened the length of an Earth day by 6.8 microseconds, scientists say.

The reason is that sudden changes in the dimensions of the Earth’s tectonic plates, like those experienced in the earthquakes in Chile and Indonesia, can alter the velocity.

David Kerridge, the head of Earth hazards and systems at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, likened the change in rotation speed to what happens when a figure skater draws her arms in close to her body while spinning. “As she pulls her arms in,” Kerridge told Bloomberg, “she gets faster and faster. It’s the same idea with the Earth going around: If you change the distribution of mass, the rotation rate changes.”

{AOL News/Noam Newscenter}


  1. Trully fascinating and everything happens because of klal yisroel so chazal tell us so yehudim hayikarim lets wake up and do teshuva first haiti with 250,000 or so dead and now chilie scary

  2. Great! Let’s blame this on global warming, too! Better yet — let’s blame global warming on our altered axis! (When do we get the microseconds back – next eathquake?)

  3. Oh man, that is a big earthquake! It even made the days one point two millionth’s of a second shorter! But that’s such a small number, why would anybody want to read about it. And if no one’s going to read about it, why is it on here?

  4. yes, this will cause shabbos to come in 1 second earlier about every 217 years
    and thats if nothing like this happens again

  5. THis is amazing to read about. THis is what “ma rabbu maasecha Hashem” is about. Hashem has been running everything in this world by the microsecond, and we aren’t even aware of all these little parts of the “briah”.