Gallery: Chile Earthquake May Have Shifted Earth’s Axis, Shortened Days


In addition to causing widespread death and destruction, last week’s devastating earthquake in Chile may have shifted the Earth’s axis permanently and created shorter days, according to scientists at NASA. Based on calculations thus far, every day from now on should be 1.26 microseconds shorter. While the change probably won’t be affecting our daily schedules too much (a microsecond is a millionth of a second), it is unsettling to think about how much impact something as concentrated as an earthquake can have on the entire planet.

How does an earthquake move the planet’s axis? A sizable quake can shift huge amounts of rock, changing the distribution of mass on the planet. That change alters the rate at which the planet rotates, and rotation determines a day’s length. Scientists explained that the key to the shift was the location of the quake, and the fact that the fault sliced through Earth at a steeper angle, making “the Chile fault more effective in moving Earth’s mass vertically and hence more effective in shifting Earth’s figure axis.”

The Chile earthquake isn’t the first or the only natural disaster that changed the Earth’s shift. In fact, a day’s length was shortened by 6.8 microseconds after the tsunami of 2004. Benjamin Fong Chao of NASA‘s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland explained in 2005, “Any worldly event that involves the movement of mass affects the Earth’s rotation.”



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  1. abdelrosado October 11, 2011 at 2:22 am

    Ok, my opinion on this is may be by theory correct.,

    I believe chile’s earth quake is not what cause the earth shifting permanently, the earth has been shifting it self for centuries, Chile earthquake is just a reaction to this already shifting and because it cause pressure on the earth tectonic plates to accommodate to it new angle balance. this type of earthquake is a result of earth shifting, also nuclear or atomic bombs can contribute to earths shifting to because even earth gravity’s is strong bomb’s explode on land that is why that government’s don’t test massive bobs on land they do on Space and Deep ocean, and by the way it for some reason has been stop by somebody we don’t know .

  2. Larry Happiday May 16, 2011 at 11:24 am

    My interest is: given the massive exploration andexploitation of liquid and solid minerals like gold, bauxite, petroleum products and even gas, is it not possible that these activities remove the buoyancy, lubrication and fluidity that is required to make the rotation of the earth smooth. Should this be the case, can we also say that minerals exploitation activities have also contributed to making the earth drier thereby increasing rock degradation and causing frequent reactions from the earth? Just wondering!

  3. Anthony C. March 15, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    I too have noticed that the sun sets very far north in the height of summer. also in my home,my bedroom wall is east/west on south side of house,early morning sunrise the sun will strike the inside wall from east window,very impressive.then in winter sun will strike north, east/west wall,my bedroom is only ten feet wide from north to south,with said window at east wall center of room. remarkable!!! no doubt, something is going on.

  4. kate mckaye March 14, 2011 at 11:32 am

    this is my question also, as they tell us everytime we have a major earth quake of 7.0 and above, we get a shifting off the axis, so does this mean each time we are shifted off or is it pushed back? maybe a question for nasa!

  5. Nuadormrac March 13, 2011 at 2:16 am

    I wish they’d tell people which way the earth’s axis is being shifted in these earthquakes, rather then by saying “moved by x centemeters”. OK, this one, the one that struck Japan, and the tsunami of 2004 all shortened days by a slight amount.

    But relative to the 24.5 degree tilt, is this being straightened up, or causing the tilt to grow more pronounced. AKA, lets say we’re talking a 0.00023 degree shift (just throwing out a number, not saying this is what it was), would the tilt now be 24.50023 degrees now? which would make it grow larger, or would it be 24.49977 degrees. Was the shift + x number degrees, or – x number degrees.

    Given this is more of a curious fact then anything else; I’d be curious in which direction the changes have tended to be over the last several mega-quakes/tsunamis.

  6. matcrep October 28, 2010 at 11:42 am

    you are all philosophically speaking, none of this is actually true, or at least not of now. no official reports have been constructed and released to the public. as for the amount of force behind an earthquake and that of an atomic bomb, both surely have enough force to push and to move a plant, but when a planet lies in space and not against another object the force in order to move it would be unimaginable.

  7. Rev6to21 July 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    I think you all need to study the HAARP devise that exists in Alaska and 4 other locations on the earth. This devise is able to alter the ionisphere and cause changes to the weather. At first scientists want to use this techn to help with drought and hunger but the govt took it over when they realized it could be used as a weapon. Many believe all the earthquakes previously mentioned here were created by this incredibly powerful HAARP system. Do a You Tube search for HAARP. Time the wold wakes up to the destructive nature of man. And, yes, we do need to worry about this shift in the axis of the world. We have seen the changes in the weather overall and now we are seeing very strange things happen with insects. Do th research. Be informed,

  8. sstony1984 May 25, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    do the math, cause and effect. one thing alwayz changes another. arn’t we about change. stop worrying and enjoy

  9. inquiring mind May 19, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I am not sure what is the cause, but I am 65 years old and have been watching the sun set in the same place every year. I know it changes with the seasons, but the Sun has never set so far North as it is now… I am using a certain Street as my calculating point. I have been blinded for years by driving down this road at sunset.. The Sun is now way off course to the north.. Can anyone explain this to me..This street has never changed.

  10. arkaniss May 7, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    When our “24 hour” days are shorter, the rotation is therefore increased. When the rotation decreases however, our days are longer. Therefor, Our rotation has increased from the quake?

  11. undergrond informer April 18, 2010 at 4:55 am

    sorry to shatter your day guys and girls .1.line up a globe on its axis(simulate) 2.plot the quakes all of which have occurred in the last 10 years including Haiti chili and pin flags on actual globes a pattern will emerge clue “look at the mid Atlantic ridge.its movement according to its own peer review protocols calculate .include volcanic activity .here is your model now take a 20 year period of nuclear activity do the same to a new globe as above calculate the difference in axis then you will have true answer back by your own discovered truth

  12. mikekrnboy April 6, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    dont forget the moon that help the tilt

  13. defbIsCUits March 23, 2010 at 6:48 am

    An atomic bomb cant have an effect in rotation. The bombs in Japan were set to go off 3000 feet above surface. Atomic bombs have a fraction of their power if they are set off any closer to the earth and cause global fall out. Yes, they can and do throw dirt everywhere and blah blah blah, but they only cause a reaction in the open spaces around them. As said above, St Helens was way stronger than any and all atomic bombs ever dropped. And no Joyce doesnt make sense. She is the average mind of an average American. Earths rotation is affected by the suns gravitational pull. The sun is MUCH bigger than whatever the Earth or what we can dish out. Unless the sun lashes out and bitch slaps the Earth then dont worry about anything.

  14. les March 15, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    If a large earthquack can chang the tilt or rotation of the earth, then what happens when they pump millions of gallons of heavy curd oil out of one side of the earth and send it to another distant area of the earth ? Dose the pumping of this oil from far below also cool the earths crust in that area and if so, then what is the effect that would have on the rotation and tilt of the earth? Can anyone answer these questions?

  15. earthwindtrees March 13, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Yoneda states that our rotation has slowed down. Now isn’t a decreased rotation a precursor to the loss of seasons and also affect the gravitation hold on our atmosphere. I can’t remember the earth science/physics of it all. Can someone point to text or citations that will explain the actual/possible impacts the slowed rotation and change in the tilt of the axis, please?

  16. azzkikr March 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    In my opinion,the idea of an axis shift is well within reason,and as far as a converse effect is concerned, that is well within reason too. The real question is, what’s next? If the earthquake in Chile had an effect on the earth’s axis, has it triggered a chain reaction of sorts? Or has this chain reaction already started and the is Chile earthquake just one of the on-going effects? Global catastrophy is a worrying thought, but one that needs to considered non the less. As cnadide explores, man’s history only seems to have started a few thousand years ago, yet signs of advanced technology can be dated far beyond any recorded history. The pyramids of geiza, and even those of south america seem to have been built with a level of technology that far out-weigh anything that is supposed to have existed at the time. All in all, it appears that some sort of global extinction has possibly occured among the human race in the past…are we headed there again? And if so I, do we have the power to do anything about it? Iwonder

  17. cnadide March 7, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    What if the earth’s axis, like a spinning top, shifts from time to time, say every several thousand years, and CAUSES earthquakes, and explains why there was ice over parts of the earth that no longer have ice over them, which we refer to as the ice age, and that is why places like stonehenge and other star tracking facilities were built, to track the shift in the earth’s rotation… The amount of damage that would occur would cause floods of biblical proportion, like Noah saw, and the disappearance of Atlantis and that other continent that was roughly located in the Pacific.. It might explain why history begins only a few thousand years ago, while signs of human life exist for many thousands of years.

  18. jacknmXX March 7, 2010 at 11:36 am

    A senior at UNM, Albuqeurque made the statement that the Chilean earthquake caused the axis to shift 3 inches. Is this an accurate statement and how would such a measurement be made?

  19. brainy March 7, 2010 at 1:37 am

    the real questions is … if days are shorter does that mean we get to live longer ?

  20. burgermeisters March 6, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    The shifting of mass does not affect its weight. 1 millionth of a second?!? By whose clock? Change the battery!

  21. SSSIIIXXX March 4, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    I am interested to see. If either theory is true; I presume the pole shift will alter paths of other tactonic plates that remain relatively inert. A period of reajusment if you will as plates realighn to a new path.
    Im curious would a pole shift as described leave Chile more predisposed to a quake given the coresponding nature, location and direction of its plates. This would provide evidence of the convesrse theory ….that the pole shift was the cause of the quake.

  22. SSSIIIXXX March 4, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    When i read this I realised; that if this theory holds merrit, then ceartainly the converse may be true. Perhaps; a pole shift was behind the massive quake.

  23. SSSIIIXXX March 4, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Couldnt the converse then be true. Perhaps; a pole shift happened and as a result there was a massive quake?

  24. Welcome March 4, 2010 at 3:08 am

    Well I think i agree with JOYCEY because the way she`s explaining it proves the theorical part of the mystrey and we all know that whats done in theory is exactly what happens in the practical part

  25. twall567 March 3, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    actually comparitavly an atomic bomb is not strong enough because it does not effect mass amounts of the earth as in an earthquake or a large volcanic eruption the blast of mt st helens was 400 times the strength of thehat leveled hiroshima

  26. joycey March 3, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    yes i would think that an atomic bomb could move the earth slightly, but a very tiny amount… Think like this… u have a large round ball, (earth) and set off a bomb on the right hand side, surly it must move slightly to the left??

  27. mayel619 March 3, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    This is not a comment but a question, if an earthquake and tsunamis like that of 04 can shift or alter the earths rotation, can an atomic bomb do the same? And did the bombing in Japan cause any changes in the earths rotation?

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