Japan moved during the earthquake and the aftershocks, of course, but the main island has shifted eight feet, a movement that has been verified by the fact that a GPS station moved that much and is consistent with the movement of a large landmass. Wow, that was some earthquake! The article I’m reading doesn’t say in which direction the main island shifted. I’ll have to dig some more to find out.
Not only did Japan move, but it seems the earth’s axis is now four inches out of whack. To me, this is a more interesting phenomenon than moving a single island, no matter how large. Back in the day, when I was in college and studying climatology, the tilt of the earth’s axis was a topic for endless discussion. Even way back then, there were people making noises about “global warming,” or climate change, as it’s now called. Everyone knows that the earth has warmed up and cooled down throughout it’s history, but no one knows exactly why this happens. Oh, there are lots of theories. Back then there were many questions about the sun’s energy, about the inconsistencies of earth’s orbit around the sun, and so forth. And then there were big debates going on about the wobble of earth’s axis and how this might account for climate changes. It seems the tip of the northern axis, though imaginary, which now points toward Polaris, doesn’t always. From time to time, the earth has a different north star. Sometimes it’s Vega.
Ah, this news just in from the “Times of India,” newsfeed, and I quote, ” The earthquake-cum-tsunami packed such fury that it has moved Japan’s main island, Honshu, by about 8 feet. It’s also caused the Earth’s axis to wobble by about 4 inches – something that experts say will lead to the shortening of the day by 1.6 microseconds, or just over a millionth of a second.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Earths-axis-wobbles-your-days-shorter/articleshow/7689494.cms
So there you have it. We didn’t just lose an hour this weekend due to daylight savings time, we also lost a millionth of a second, thanks to the earthquake in Japan. Enjoy your day. It’s shorter than you think…