Chile Quake Shoved Islands Upward,
Shifted Earth's Axis, Shortened Day
Rising islands: I expect the pace to increase
2 Mar 10 - Chile's massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake has likely
altered the distribution of the Earth's overall mass, scientists
from NASA say.
As a result, "the length of the day should have gotten shorter by
1.26 microseconds [millionths of a second]," said Richard Gross, a
geophysicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "The axis about
which the Earth's mass is balanced should have moved by 2.7
milliarcseconds [about 8cm or 3 inches]."
The speed of the Earth's rotation also increased slightly, because
sudden changes in the dimensions of the Earth's tectonic plates can
alter the velocity.
David Kerridge, at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh,
likened the change in rotation speed to what happens when a figure
skater draws her arms in close to her body while spinning. "As she
pulls her arms in," said Kerridge, "she gets faster and faster. It's
the same idea with the Earth going around: If you change the
distribution of mass, the rotation rate changes."
Some islands may even have moved.
Santa Maria Island off the coast near Concepcion may have been
raised two metres (about seven feet) as a result of the quake, said
Andreas Rietbrock, a professor of Earth Sciences at Britain's
Liverpool University who has studied the area impacted, though not
since the latest temblor.
There is evidence that previous earthquakes have shoved the island
upward in the past, said Rietbrock.
I'm not surprised that Santa Maria Island may have moved upward.
In fact, I expect ever
more and ever stronger earthquakes as our
magnetic field strength
decreases. Here's what I said about that in
"Not by Fire but by Ice" (p.
Earthquakes and rising land; two tectonic processes in phase with
(and ice ages).
For proof, look at Barbados, the easternmost island in the Lesser
Antilles in the
Caribbean. Barbados is terraced. From the air, the
terraces look like a huge
flight of stairs.
Two theories exist as to what formed the terraces. Each theory
begins with the same
premise, that the island periodically rose from
the sea during a major
earthquake. Each time it rose, the first theory
goes, one reef died and a
new one grew at a lower point on the island.
The second theory holds
that each terrace was carved from a single
large fossil reef. Each
time the island rose, wave action sculpted a
In 1965, Professor Robley K. Matthews of Brown University had the
terraces dated. The
lowest one dated at 82,000 years old, the second
one dated at 103,000, and
the top one dated at 122,000. The steps
had been sculpted in sync
with precession of the equinoxes. (Broecker
et al., 1968)
Other parts of the world also rose in sync with precession. Each terrace
on New Guinea's Huon
Peninsula, for example, formed when it abruptly
rose above sea level
during a major earthquake in sync with precession
Chappell, Matthews, and Mesolella). The Florida Keys
also rose in sync with
precession (Broecker and Thurber). So did the
Bahamas and the Ryukyu
Islands. Other rapidly rising reefs have been
dated at 66,000 ± 4,000
years, others at 48,000 years—all in sync with
Even the exposed beds in southern Scandinavia
south of Göteburg, which
uplifted about 10,000 years ago, rose in sync
And the pace is picking up. "The rates of modern movements are
than the average rates over the past 130 my,"
said Officer and Drake.
"These movements may be episodic," said
Officer, "with a cycle as
short as 10,000 years." (Tectonics, 1985)
What would make huge chunks of land halfway around the world
from each other rise in
phase with equinoctial precession?
Electromagnetic forces—unleashed by magnetic reversals.
See entire article:
Thanks to David Bronzich and Robyn Richards in Sydney, Australia for