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Earth Science

Chilean Earthquake Shortened Earth's Day 374

Posted by kdawson
from the ice-skater-effect dept.
ailnlv writes "Days on Earth just got shorter. The recent earthquake in Chile shifted the planet's axis by about 8 cm and shortened days by 1.26 microseconds 'The changes can be modeled, though they're difficult to detect physically given their small size. ... Some changes may be more obvious, and islands may have shifted. ... Santa Maria Island off the coast near Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, may have been raised 2 meters (6 feet) as a result of the latest quake ...'"
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Chilean Earthquake Shortened Earth's Day

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  • Re:GPS affected? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by feepness (543479) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:59AM (#31326558) Homepage
    If it was traveling at 400 miles per hour, 1.26 microseconds is 0.007 inches. I am assuming that is within detonation radius.
  • by zygotic mitosis (833691) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @01:01AM (#31326570)
    Remember, this is only what a model predicts, unlike what the headline suggests. And anyway, I think even if the quake had effects on day length and/or axis, another quake somewhere else on Earth sets it back a little. It averages out to what we witness. Earth is a dynamic place.
  • Re:GPS affected? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by T Murphy (1054674) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @01:50AM (#31326864) Journal
    More people die in car accidents every single day than died in this earthquake. What is with all this sensationalism about such an insignificant event. </sarcasm>
  • by sleeping143 (1523137) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @01:59AM (#31326896)

    Just because a phenomenon is measurable doesn't mean it's significant.

  • Re:I say everyone (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @03:29AM (#31327224)

    I wonder... Compare the total weight of the entire chinese population to the total weight of the entire population of the US. Who's heavier?

    To further stray from topic...

    US Population: 310 million (rounded up)
    China Population: 1,335 million (rounded down)
    Avg US weight: 300 lbs (way, way high to prove point, including kids...)
    Avg Chinese weight: 100 lbs (maybe about accurate for population avg weight?)
    Total US weight: 93,000 million lbs
    Total China weight: 133,500 million lbs

    According to my figures, avg weight in the US (including kids) would have to be around 430 lbs to equal the amount of china's total population weight if they average 100 lbs. There are almost 4.5 Chinese people to every US person.

    Realistically, the average US adult weight is probably around 175 lbs, (about 200ish for men, and about 150ish for women). I would guess (from my quick search) that avg Chinese adult weight is around 135 lbs.

  • by butlerm (3112) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @04:30AM (#31327476)

    theoretically it's not completely impossible that underground nuclear testing has something to do with the specifics of any earthquakes since the 1950s or so.

    No doubt. Theoretically, it is an absolute certainty that the migration of swallows to Capistrano has something to do with the specifics of every earthquake for centuries now.

  • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker AT gnu DOT org> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @05:23AM (#31327700) Homepage

    More people die in car accidents every single day than died in this earthquake.

    And that, I think, is actually a real problem---it would be really great if you could somehow get people to drive a bit more safely. It'd save a lot of lives, including the lives of a bunch of productive citizens, i.e. it'd also bring more material wealth for everybody.

    Yeah, sure, that shouldn't take the spotlight away from a recent significant event (which also has a lot of wounded and property damage).

    But maybe it's something worth pouring resources into?

  • Its Ok, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jarik C-Bol (894741) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @09:19AM (#31328774)
    Its ok though, because it offset the effect of the three gorges dam in china, which made the days longer. http://www.theenergylibrary.com/node/11435 [theenergylibrary.com] sure, that dam lengthened the day by less than the earthquake shortened it, but we also have to account for other dams that have lengthened days.

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