Two NASA scientists have been studying the earthquake that rocked the world on December 26, 2004 and have calculated that it has moved the North Pole about 2.5cm towards Guam in the Pacific Ocean.
Dr Benjamin Fong Chao and Dr Richard Gross routinely calculate how earthquakes change the earth’s shape and rotation. They have deduced that the Indonesian earthquake, the fourth largest in a century, not only moved the North Pole it also made the earth rounder, causing it to spin faster. A faster rotating earth means that each day is now shorter by 2.68 millionths of a second.
Previous earthquakes have had similar effects, but they are usually barely noticeable. The effects of the magnitude nine quake are all in line with previously detected long-term seismic trends. The two scientists hope to use data recovered from sensors on earth and in space to verify their calculations.