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Massive Asian Earthquake Made Earth Days Shorter — Russian Scientists

Mosnews | December 29 2004

The massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean that spurred a deadly tsunami claiming tens of thousands of lives over the weekend was so huge that it caused the Earth to rotate faster, shortening the day, Russian scientists say.

The earthquake, which hit 9.0 on the Richter scale, caused the earth’s diameter to decrease, Roman Vilfand, head of Russia’s Meteorological Center, was quoted by Interfax as saying.

“The Earth’s axis changes constantly, it never remains at one point,” he said. Because the diameter of the Earth decreased as a result of a shift in tectonic plates, the speed of the Earth as it rotates around its own axis could increase.

“This can cause an increase in the length of the day by several milliseconds,” Vilfand was quoted as saying.

Scientists in Italian geological centers have concluded, meanwhile, that the Earth’s axis has shifted 6 centimeters eastwards.