Turns out that the Chilean earthquake was so powerful NASA scientists feel it may have changed the rotation of the Earth, shortened our days, and maybe even knocked the Earth slightly off its axis.
NASA scientists have come out claiming that the 8.8 earthquake which hit Chile on Saturday, the seventh strongest in recorded history, may have been more globally significant than one might think.
"Perhaps more impressive is how much the quake shifted Earth's axis," NASA officials said in a Monday update.
Research scientist in NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Richard Gross, claims that computer models are showing that the massive quake might have shortened the typical Earth day by as much as 1.26 milliseconds. The computer model also showed a slight shift in the Earth's axis of about three inches.
But as impressive as it is, it really does not amount to much. The Earth loses and gains a millisecond here and there all the time, so the shortening of the day should go by relatively unnoticed. The three inch shift in the Earth's axis is just slightly more than the 2.74 millimeter shift caused by the 2004 earthquake which caused the Burmese tsunami (which incidentally caused the Earth to lose an approximate 6.8 milliseconds). So as far as NASA scientists can guess (and I, as a logical observer would also gather) there is really little more to note about the data other than it must have been one strong fucking quake on Saturday.As of this writing, the Chilean quake (reportedly felt as far north as Peru) has claimed some 700 lives and left thousands more injured and destitute.