Japan earthquake shifts Earth's axis 10 centimetres

Monday, March 14, 2011

According to the Italian-based National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the magnitude 8.9 earthquake that struck Japan on Friday caused the axis of the planet Earth to shift by approximately ten centimetres. Experts believe that "this has [shifted] the axis of rotation of the Earth [further] than the 2004 earthquake in Sumatra." ((fr))French language: ‍ce phénomène a exercé sur l'axe de rotation de la Terre une action plus importante que le séisme de 2004 à Sumatra

According to La Nación, the impact of the Japanese earthquake caused an energy release one hundred times larger than that of the earthquake which struck Haiti in 2010. Leading the research at the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, Antonio Piersanti stated that "[o]ur estimate is not derived from direct measurements, which require much more time, but theoretical calculations." ((es))Spanish language: ‍Nuestra estimación no se deriva de mediciones directas, que requerirán mucho más tiempo, sino de cálculos teóricos

Richard Gross, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was responsible for discovering the extent to which the Earth's axis had been shifted by the 2010 Chile earthquake. He claimed that there "should be no impact [from] this change in rotation on daily life." ((es))Spanish language: ‍No debería haber ningún impacto de este cambio en la rotación sobre la vida diaria

Gross explained: "Although we have not evaluated the measurements of the Earth's rotation, my calculations indicate that the change in the distribution of land masses caused by the Japanese earthquake may have caused the Earth to rotate a little faster, shortening the length of day about 1.6 microseconds." ((es))Spanish language: ‍Aunque todavía no hemos evaluado las mediciones de la rotación de la Tierra, mis cálculos indican que el cambio de la distribución de la masa terrestre causado por el terremoto japonés puede haber hecho que la Tierra rote un poco más rápido, acortando la duración del día unos 1,6 microsegundos He said that despite the fact that "[t]his change in the position of the axis of rotation will cause the Earth to wobble a bit different[ly] as it rotates," ((es))Spanish language: ‍Este cambio en la posición del eje de rotación de la Tierra hará que se tambalee un poco diferente, ya que gira the planet's axis would not alter in space.