Tech UPTechnologyJapan widens after earthquake

Japan widens after earthquake

japon-sateliteIn thesubduction zone between the Pacific tectonic plate and the North American plate, the first sinks progressively to be placed below the second, with a displacement of 83 millimeters per year. But an earthquake like the one that just happened can cause rapid movement with catastrophic consequences. The9.0 earthquake that shook Japan on March 11displaced some points of its geography2.4 meters to the east, according to estimates by seismologists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

To calculate the displacement that the island has experienced, USGS experts have analyzed data from the global positioning system (GPS). And they have detected thatthe GPS stations closest to the epicenter of the earthquake moved up to four meters to the east. According to the USGS, the change occurred mostly in areas near the epicenter area, while the stations further away showed much less movement. Geophysicist Ross Stein says that, as a consequence, “Japan is wider than it was before.”

In the case of the recent earthquake in Haiti of magnitude 7.0, no similar changes occurred on the Earth, according to his partner Paul Earle. “A 7.0 magnitude earthquake is much smaller than the one that just happened in Japan,” he said. “We have had aftershocks (in Japan) stronger than the earthquake in Haiti,” he adds.

On the other hand, Richard Gross, a scientist at theNASA, has reported thatthe Earth’s rotation speed has also been altered as a result of the earthquake. Initial calculations show thatday length shortened by 1.8 microseconds(millionths of a second). This timescale is imperceptible to people, but can be detected by satellites.

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