Friday, March 5, 2010

Earth Withstanding Quakes

An earthquake is caused by a sudden slip on a fault. Stresses in the earth's outer layer push's the sides of the fault together. Stress builds up and the rocks slip suddenly, releasing energy in waves that travel through the rock to cause the shaking that we feel during an earthquake. The causes according to the USGS, an earthquake occurs when plates grind and scrape against each other. Earthquakes happen every day by the hundreds, most of them too weak or remote to affect many people

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 hav shortened Earth's days by 6.8 microseconds and shifted its axis by about 2.76 inches. The fault responsible for the 2010 Chile quake also slices through Earth at a steeper angle. This makes the Chile fault more effective in moving Earth,s mass vertically and more effective in shifting Earth's figure axis and shortened day's.

Earthquakes can involve shifting hundreds of kilometers of rock by several meters, changing the distribution of mass on the planet. This affects Earth's rotation. The length of the day should have gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds. It is shocking, but true that the 8.8 quake moved the earth off its axis by about 3 inches. Scientists are quick to point out that the moving of the earth off its axis isn't enough to change our seasons. It would take far more than the Chilean quake to make alterations in our weather patterns, as earth's tilt is what determines the seasons. Most of the earthquakes occur on the edges of the plates where the plates is under one or across. The movement disrupts the balance and position of all the plates, which leads to tremors, which are called earthquakes.


Linda said...

Hi Margaret,
Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your nice comment. I'm glad I made you laugh about the short-shorts (that's why I included that; it made me laugh as well and my sisters will be horrified with those pictures, but that's okay - we love to kid one another). :)

This is an interesting piece about earthquakes! I've only felt 2 earthquakes in my life and both times, I was at work here at the University on the 4th floor. The first one, which was centered in southern Indiana, was only felt on the higher floors here in this area, hundreds of miles away. I actually contacted our campus earthquake sciences center and asked if there had been an earthquake, because everyone in our office felt it, but no one outside or on the ground levels did and they confirmed that there had indeed been one in Indiana (something like a 3.5 or 4).

The second time, many people in this area felt it and it was centered somewhere down in Southern Illinois I believe. Again, it was only minor but the rolling movement is very distinctive and even people who had never been through it before, knew instantly what was happening here, however slight.

I hope that's my only experience because seeing the destruction from these massive quakes is very scary.

Hope you have a blessed weekend friend,


Thanks for a most detailed account of earth quakes. This year .....and we're only just into march has been disasterous,
Many lives lost, children orphaned and maimed, it certainly is thought provoking
that we moan and groan about everyday insignifficant things.

Have a good wekk-end.

Tea said...

Nice post, Margaret. When I hear of an earthquake I tend to wonder if God is displeased with us. After all, there were times in Bible days when the earth opened and swallowed up evildoers. It's food for thought anyways, I guess.

Anonymous said...

We even have them here in Ohio. Not as big and not often but who knows about tomorrow.

A New Beginning said...

Thanks for such an informative post Margaret!Have a great weekend!:)

Puss-in-Boots said...

I know one thing for sure, having lived in an earthquake zone...I don't like them at all. There's just nowhere to go that's safe because the whole world is heaving and shaking, all because a couple of tectonic plates have decided to wake up and stretch.

Kay said...

When we finally finished building our house here in Hawaii we were hit with an earthquake. It was the scariest thing. I hope we don't have another anytime soon or ever.

Kay said...

By the way, I'm so sorry I took such a lont time but I wanted you to know that I finally managed to post about the Over the Top Award. I had so much fun. Thanks very much! I noticed that Peggy then picked it up from me.

Twyla and Lindsey said...

This was very interesting. We had a small earthquake in MO this week (3.7)and there was a 4.1 in OK the same weekend as the Chile one. Have a nice weekend! Twyla

Patty said...

An earthquake has always seemed very scary to me. I guess because I've only seen videos or movies with them happening. We have tornado's around here all the time and I understand some people are very frightened of them. I guess it's just what we've grown up around.

Happy week-end.

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