Geologic effects of the Chilean Earthquake

As we discussed in class, the recent Chilean Earthquake was fifth most powerful earthquake recorded in the past hundred years, at a magnitude of 8.8. When quakes get that strong, they cause changes to the Earth. The articles below discuss some of the changes.

Chilean Cities Shifted West in Quake: Santiago, the capital city of Chile, has moved a full foot farther to the west. Other South American cities have shifted as well. This is really plate tectonics in action! I wonder if all the GPS navigators are broken down there now.

Chilean Quake Likely Shifted Earth’s Axis: The quake also had global effects. It very slightly changed the tilt of our axis, and shortened the day by 1.26 millionths of a second. Don’t worry if you didn’t notice.

If you’re interested, here’s Wikipedia’s list of the most powerful and the deadliest earthquakes on record.

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13 Responses to Geologic effects of the Chilean Earthquake

  1. Nick K. says:

    It is crazy that the day actually shortened because of an earthquake. I’d like to see how long the day would be if a billion of these earthquakes hit. And that the ground shifted a foot. Just wow.

  2. Julian P says:

    Hey, I love the blog. Your comment on how some of the cities moved a foot got me thinking. Every time there’s an earthquake do maps and GPS’s have to be recalled to fix them and adjust them to the new form of land?


    P.S Anyone can reply to my question.

  3. Harrison says:

    This shows just how powerful earthquakes are. The fact that the entire earth shifted slightly is amazing.

  4. Thomas L. says:

    Even though the earthquake only distored our 24 hours buy 1.24 millionths of a second, it is still a big thing. :O

    There weren’t any earthquakes like this one before that caused ‘time distortion’

  5. Matthew p says:

    Did the shift of the Earths axis make the days longer or shorter?

  6. Alex P says:

    I agree with Nick that it is crazy that one earthquake could change how long a day is. I also think it is crazy that could move a city. Not to mention by a whole foot. If you think about it in millions of years the day length of the Earth will be a different amount and the continents will be in different places because of earthquakes even though the continents will change not only because of earthquakes but they are moving anyway.

  7. Kyle S. says:

    That is really scary. All the continents could become joined together again in like 500 million years.

  8. Nick W says:

    To reply to Julian’s comment about the GPS, I hope that some Chilean man is using the GPS and crashes into a fire hydrant. That would be weird. So maybe they have to change the GPS units. That’s a question to ask Mr. Allen.

  9. Will Eye Am says:

    The Chilean earthquake was stronger and more powerful than the Haiti one but didnt have as much of an impact because chile is much wealthier.

  10. Aidan says:

    I agree that the Chilean earthquake could have been way worse if Chile wasn’t prepared for the quake. That shows that earthquake effects are not necessarily tied only to the magnitude of the earthquake but also the level of preparation of the country involved.

  11. Harrison says:

    To reply to Kyle S.’s comment all the continents are going to be rejoined. North America is moving closer to Asia. That will save a lot of money when you are buying goods from China.

  12. Thomas L. says:

    True Harrison, but isn’t the Atlantic Ocean sea floor still expanding while the Pacific Ocean sea floor is shrinking???

  13. Callum J. says:

    I cannot believe that an Earth Quake like that could actually shorten the day. It must have been an extremely powerful earth quake

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