Earth’s Day Shortens After Japan Quake

Last Updated on June 2, 2020 by

As the Earth slowly spins around the sun it is affected to a surprising degree by the actual movements on the planet’s surface in its journey.  And now after one of the greatest calamities to ever befall Japan, the world is still adjusting to the tremendous after effects.  And while the whole globe may not have been directly effected by the disaster itself, the Japan Earthquake is certainly going to have lasting effects on how the Earth travels through time as we understand it from now on.

If you feel like you may have less time in the day than usual, you may be right.  The recent 9.0 Earthquake in Japan actually shortened the average day on Earth by 0.0000018 seconds.  And if this doesn’t seem like much time, you’re probably right.  Over the course of 80 years the shift from this Earthquake alone won’t amount to over 1/20th of a second.  But while the shift may not be that large, the fact that the Earth shifted so profoundly speaks volumes on the actual size of this tremendous seismic event.  And while authorities still scramble to get the aftermath under control, those on Earth are still wondering if the worst is yet to come.

A similar phenomenon occurred when the Chile Earthquake was analyzed.  The findings were announced in a March 2nd, 2010 edition of the periodical National Geographic.  And just as was the case with the latest Earthquake, the Chile disaster resulted in the Earth’s axis being shifted and the days being a fraction of a second shorter forever.

Those who have been citing a shift in the Earth’s axis have found little resistance from NASA scientists who state while a shift in the Earth’s axis is at this point likely, it won’t actually be affecting us in an appreciable way for quite some time.  A shift in the Earth’s rotation, according to scientists, happens all the time – albeit gradually.

In reality it’s likely there have been several shifts in the Earth’s rotation over the course of each year.  In 2010 when this information first started coming out from te Chile Earthquake, the comparison was drawn between the Earthquakes and the rotation of the Earth by suggesting the movement of the Earth’s crust being pulled toward its center would act in much the same way an ice skater could pull in her arms while spinning to increase the speed.  

So will we be likely missing the amount of time we lost as a result of the Earthquake?  No, says experts studying the events.  The incident is commonplace enough that we’re likely to experience it again at some point in our lives.  And even with future quakes, the change will be negligible – likely not amounting to more than half a second in total over the course of a person’s entire lifetime.