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Chile Earthquake May Have Altered Earth's Rotation

The earthquake in Chile may have altered the Earth's rotation. A NASA scientist made the announcement Monday that the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile may have altered the entire rotation of the Earth and perhaps shortened the length of days on our planet. The earthquake that shook Chile was the seventh strongest earthquake in recorded history. It also shifted the earth's axis which NASA officials reported as "impressive." The quake lessened the length of an Earth day by 1.26 milliseconds.

Gross and other researchers used a computer generated model to determine the extent of the shift the earthquake in Chile moved Earth's figure axis. Gross reported the findings to be as much as 3 inches or 8 cm. The figure axis differs from the north-south axis. The figure axis is the axis that the Earth's mass balances, whereas the north-south axis spins "around once every day at a speed of 1,000 mph."

NASA researchers believe the earthquake that hit Chile had a greater impact that stronger earthquakes from the past because of the location of the quake. The epicenter of the Chile quake was near the Earth's mid latitudes. Researchers also believe that the fault line along the Chile quake is much steeper than previous earthquakes. They stated: "This makes the Chile fault more effective in moving Earth's mass vertically and hence more effective in shifting Earth's figure axis."

The earthquake in Chile has already claimed the lives of more than 700 people and has caused great devastation to the South American country.

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