NASA scientists say that last week’s 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile has shortened the length of the day by shifting the earth’s axis.
NASA scientist Richard Gross says the quake has shortened the length of an Earth day by about 1.26 microseconds.
Every microsecond is one millionth of a second.
Gross’s calculations showed the quake should have moved Earth’s figure axis by 2.7 milliarcseconds, which is about 8 centimeters.
The study discussed that the 2004 magnitude 9.1 Sumatran earthquake should have shortened the length of day by 6.8 microseconds and shifted Earth’s axis by 2.32 milliarcseconds which is about 7 centimeters.
Gross said unlike the Sumatran quake, the Chilean earthquake did not happen near the equator. It was located in Earth’s mid-latitudes, and dips into Earth at a slightly steeper angle.
These reasons make the 2010 Chilean earthquake more effective in shifting Earth’s figure axis.