It would seem that questions like, “Is it 5 yet?” and “Is it Friday yet?” may have gotten some validation in the wake of recent tragedy. According to an article in Business Week posted this morning, NASA geophysicist Richard Gross asserts that the 8.8 shaker that razed thousands of structures in Chile a few days ago may have actually been strong enough to shorten the length of the day.
Gross was quoted as having said, “The length of the day should have gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second).” He also cited a reason for this miniscule shortening of time as, “The axis about which the Earth’s mass is balanced should have moved by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8 centimeters or 3 inches).”
David Kerridge, the head of Earth hazards and systems at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, further expanded on the explanation of this phenomena, “It’s what we call the ice-skater effect,” he explained. “As the ice skater puts when she’s going around in a circle, and she pulls her arms in, 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.”
So, it looks like the day and the week is already shorter. I’ll drink to that!
We’re that much closer to 5 – and Friday. Hang in there, gang!
[techtags:HAPPY HOUR, WEEKEND, EARTHQUAKE, EARTH SCIENCE]