Posts Tagged ‘earthquake’

from: http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20100302/sc_space/chileearthquakemayhaveshorteneddaysonearth

Clinton visits quake-hit Chile

The massive 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile may have changed the entire Earth’s rotation and shortened the length of days on our planet, a NASA scientist said Monday.

The quake, the seventh strongest earthquake in recorded history, hit Chile Saturday and should have shortened the length of an Earth dayby 1.26 milliseconds, according to research scientist Richard Gross atNASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

“Perhaps more impressive is how much the quake shifted Earth’s axis,” NASA officials said in a Monday update.

The computer model used by Gross and his colleagues to determine the effects of the Chile earthquake effect also found that it should have moved Earth’s figure axis by about 3 inches (8 cm or 27 milliarcseconds).

The Earth’s figure axis is not the same as its north-south axis, which it spins around once every day at a speed of about 1,000 mph (1,604 kph).

The figure axis is the axis around which the Earth’s mass is balanced. It is offset from the Earth’s north-south axis by about 33 feet (10 meters).

Strong earthquakes have altered Earth’s days and its axis in the past. The 9.1 Sumatran earthquake in 2004, which set off a deadly tsunami, should have shortened Earth’s days by 6.8 microseconds and shifted its axis by about 2.76 inches (7 cm, or 2.32 milliarcseconds).

One Earth day is about 24 hours long. Over the course of a year, the length of a day normally changes gradually by one millisecond. It increases in the winter, when the Earth rotates more slowly, and decreases in the summer, Gross has said in the past.

The Chile earthquake was much smaller than the Sumatran temblor, but its effects on the Earth are larger because of its location. Its epicenter was located in the Earth’s mid-latitudes rather than near the equator like the Sumatran event.

The fault responsible for the 2010 Chile quake also slices through Earth at a steeper angle than the Sumatran quake’s fault, NASA scientists said.

“This makes the Chile fault more effective in moving Earth’s mass vertically and hence more effective in shifting Earth’s figure axis,” NASA officials said.

Gross said his findings are based on early data available on the Chile earthquake. As more information about its characteristics are revealed, his prediction of its effects will likely change.

The Chile earthquake has killed more than 700 people and caused widespread devastation in the South American country.

Several major telescopes in Chile’s Atacama Desert have escaped damage, according to the European Southern Observatory managing them.

A salt-measuring NASA satellite instrument destined to be installed on an Argentinean satellite was also undamaged in the earthquake, JPL officials said.

The Aquarius instrument was in the city of Bariloche, Argentina, where it is being installed in the Satelite de Aplicaciones Cientificas (SAC-D) satellite. The satellite integration facility is about 365 miles (588 km) from the Chile quake’s epicenter.

The Aquarius instrument is designed to provide monthly global maps of the ocean’s salt concentration in order to track current circulation and its role in climate change.

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John Travolta, Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan

All of a sudden, spending $65 on a sliver of shiny silver spandex makes sense.

Lindsay Lohan has announced that 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of her 6126 brand “Fame” leggings will go to Save the Children, one of the aid groups working with earthquake victims in Haiti.

“It is truly horrible what has happened to the people and children of Haiti,” the actress said in a statement. “I believe every company should do their part by donating what they can.”

Jessica Simpson agrees.

The singer has teamed up with her hairstylist pal Ken Paves to set up a donation program with the charity Souls4Soles, which has pledged 1 million pairs of shoes to the Haiti relief effort.

“Just five dollars will buy two people a pair of shoes,” Simpson said in directing would-be donors to the project’s home, 50KShoes.com.

Meanwhile, joining the hands-on relief effort yesterday was John Travolta, who flew his own plane, packed with food and medical equipment, from his home in Florida to the Caribbean island.

Making the trip with him were wife Kelly Preston, several doctors and ministers from the Church of Scientology.

“We have the ability to actually help make a difference in the situation in Haiti, and I just can’t see not using this plane to help,” said Travolta, who returned to Florida with Preston after the supplies had been unloaded.

In other developments on the Haiti relief front:

• Miley Cyrus and Mariah Carey are the latest singers to sign on for a reported charity cover of R.E.M.‘s “Everybody Hurts” being produced by Simon Cowell in conjunction with Britain’s Sun tabloid. The divas join a lineup that includes Michael BubléRod StewartLeona LewisTake ThatMikaJames Blunt,James Morrison and Susan Boyle.

• Jamaican reggae-rap artists Shaggy and Sean Paul have recorded a charity single, “Rise Again,” with Haitian musician Belo and soca singers Alison Hinds of Barbados and Destra Garcia from Trinidad and Tobago as part of the relief fund set up by Caribbean mobile company Digicel.

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