Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Rock the world

I read today that the huge earthquake in Chile last week shook the planet enough to tilt its axis by 8cm. This axis is not the North-South axis, but the figure axis, the rotation line for the mass of the Earth. The effect of this is to shorten the length of a day by 1.26 millionth of a second.

The Chilean event was a biggy, but other earthquakes have had a similar effect. Quite how the balance is changed depends not just on the scale of the event, but also its position relative to the equator.

If this carries on, we'll end up with a mini-day. We'll have to find some way of shortening lunch breaks and quicker ways of cutting the grass. Earthquakes seem to not be content with smashing our cities, killing, maiming and ruining lives. Now they want our time.

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