Tuesday, January 18, 2005

News: Tsunami moves North Pole, shortens daytime

Daytime is now 2.68 microseconds shorter because of last month's tsunami.

The massive force unleashed by an earthquake off the coast of Indonesia altered the shape of Earth in a number of minute yet significant ways, NASA scientists have determined.

In data released this week, NASA determined that the Dec. 26 earthquake moved the North Pole, which constantly jiggles slightly, 2.5 centimeters--about an inch--in an eastward shift that is part of a long-term seismic shift.

Earth also became slightly more round, as the planet's oblateness, the quality of being flattish on top and bulging at the equator, decreased by a small amount. Further, daytime decreased by 2.68 microseconds because Earth now spins slightly faster on its axis. The phenomenon is similar to a figure skater in a twirl pulling his or her arms in slightly closer.

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Read the complete article here.

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