Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Earthquakes: Baby, I could feel the earth move!

You know how people are in bed having the time of time their life, and after they exclaim they could actually feel the earth move? No? I'm sure you've seen it in a movie some time.

If you were in bed on Saturday when the earthquake in Chile hit, you may actually have felt the earth move. More than it usually does. Which is thousands and thousands of miles a day. And you don't have to be in bed to feel it. But that's beside the point.

According to NASA scientists;
“The length of the day should have gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second). “The axis about which the Earth’s mass is balanced should have moved by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8 centimeters or 3 inches).”
According to VG this simply means the earth is now spinning faster than it used to. When earthquakes of this magnitude hit, they change the distribution of the mass on earth, which changes the speed at which it rotates. So the continents move, and the earth itself spins faster as a result of it.

An earthquake in Asia in 2004 brought on even bigger changes which shortened the day by 6.8 microseconds. No reason for concern though - we'd need more than 100.000 of these huge earthquakes to see a change of one second in the earth's rotation. Still, it is quite fascinating.

Can you feel the earth move?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:45 AM

    I believe this is the first time that the mainstream media has reported this phenomenon yet it happens on a very small scale all the time. It is kind of neat to think that theoretically we could make the earth move albeit imperceptibly.



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