NASA scientists using data from the Indonesian earthquake calculated it affected Earths rotation, decreased the length of day, slightly changed the planets shape, and shifted the North Pole by centimeters. The earthquake that created the huge tsunami also changed the Earths rotation.
Dr. Benjamin Fong Chao, of NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. and Dr. Richard Gross of NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. said all earthquakes have some affect on Earths rotation. Its just they are usually barely noticeable. "Any worldly event that involves the movement of mass affects the Earths rotation, from seasonal weather down to driving a car," Chao said.
Chao and Gross have been routinely calculating earthquakes effects in changing the Earths rotation in both length-of-day as well as changes in Earths gravitational field. They also study changes in polar motion that is shifting the North Pole. The "mean North pole" was shifted by about 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in the direction of 145º East Longitude. This shift east is continuing a long-term seismic trend identified in previous studies.
Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
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