Quake Likely Shifted Earth’s Axis 3"

“Chilean Quake Likely Shifted Earth’s Axis, NASA Scientist Says”

March 1 (Bloomberg) – “The earthquake in Chile on Feb. 27 probably shifted the Earth’s axis and shortened the day, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist said. The axis about which the Earth’s mass is balanced should have moved by about 8 centimeters or 3 inches.”

Shortened the day? I take that to mean that we all get to live longer now- or at least die later. Maybe we can squeeze in an extra Yankee game or whatever :slight_smile:

Is that likely or even possible that the earth’s axis moved that much?

You think NASA is lying?

For the Indonesian Quake:

More from Dr. Gross at JPL:

All Days Are Not Created Equal

To give you a sense of perspective, according to the article it shifted the axis by about 3 inches. The Earth’s diameter is almost 8,000 miles. The quake also shortened the day by about 1.26 millionths of a second.

By contrast, a quartz wristwatch is accurate to about a half-second per day.

Well, after the whole moon lan… never mind.

I hope I’m farther south now. With my luck I shifted north.

But, if the earth’s axis tilted three inches,
as the Bloomberg article states,
wouldn’t we humans tend to tilt somewhat?
Ensuing ramifications in human relationships
and architectural engineering?

Skuink…“Gross and Chao”

That just sounds funny, sorry:)
“oblateness” is cool, though.

But seriously…3"?
A change of 3 inches sounds really big to me!

So the Northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere are rotating at different speeds.

Man, that must generate some torque.

Picture that. Whew!

Back to the OP.
What about the larger quake in Haiti? Did that alter the earth’s axis? In what direction?
The same or opposite of the Chilean quake? Do they balance the normal axis out?

As we all know there are many earthquakes per day in this world. Are they cumulatively moving the axis in a particular direction? Is there cause for concern because of them?

What would be the consequences if the axis altered by one or two percent…or more, because of earthquakes?

FYI, the Chile earthquake release about 500 times more energy than the Haiti earthquake. Haiti was worse on the human loss and destruction scale.

“Haiti was worse on the human loss and destruction scale.”

I know, much worse. It is so sad. And was much more disastrous.

But, did that quake alter the earth’s axis to the extreme of the Chilean quake?

No, the Haiti quake was much weaker, just closer to the surface, which is one reason it caused more damage.

I’m not quite sure of the cause of your misunderstanding, but having the Earth’s axis rotate by 3 inches wouldn’t affect the way things lean or anything like that. When we talk about the tilt, we’re talking about the angle of the planet (from pole to pole) relative to the ecliptic on which it travels around the sun. It’s currently about 23.5 degrees, as this picture shows. We’re either 3 inches more or less tilted relative to the ecliptic now (not sure which it is), so instead of a 23.5 degree tilt we’re at (again if we’re talking about 3" of increased tilt) 23.50000000000000000000000000000000000000001 degrees (number made up).

I would suspect that the nature of the quakes is rather important here. To change the rotational speed of the earth, you need to move mass either toward or away from the rotation axis. The Haiti quake occurred along a strike-slip fault, where two plates move primarily laterally alongside one another with very little next vertical motion. The Chilean quake occurred along a thrust fault, in which one landmass burrows under another. The latter would result in more significant changes in the earth’s moment of inertia.

Seeing how we’ve survived earthquakes (and bigger ones than this) for 10,000 years I think we can safely say no.

I’m pretty sure we had someone here a while back who argued that the two hemispheres were rotating in opposite directions, but I can’t find the thread. (It wasn’t BZ00000, who thought that time would run backwards if the Earth’s spin was reversed)

I caught that as well. Any idea what that guy is on about? Can we take the rest of his comments seriously with a flub like that? I’d say that if I caught the error, it’s pretty egregious…

3" over 6371 km (radius) is 6.85 × 10^-7 degrees or 0.0025 arcseconds.

That figure is just under the resolution limit of the Keck interferometer, 5 milliarcseconds.