Japan Quake Shifts the Earth’s Crust and Axis

March 14, 2011 – Elizabeth Smith

Earthquakes, volcano eruptions and tectonic shifts commonly alter the earth’s crust in small ways. However in the case of an earthquake that registers 8.9 on the Richter Scale, as the one that has occurred in Japan did, we can expect massive shifts in the global positions of landforms and perhaps even a shift in the earths axis.

Scientists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and National Atmospheric Space Administration (NASA) have all concluded that the Japan earthquake was so large, it actually moved the surface of Japan up to 13 feet in some areas and lowered the elevation of the country by 2 feet in others. This in turn caused a domino effect; with a massive shift in landforms came a shift in the earths axis, a startling 4 inches, that shortened the day a few millionths of a second according to NASA.

The axis shift is due to a large redistribution of mass which is now leaving a gaping 217 mile long and 50 mile wide hole in the sea floor close the the epicenter of the earthquake. This moved the island of Japan 8 feet closer to the western coast of the United States and up to 13 feet closer in other areas closer to the epicenter according to an exact location and movement of a Global Positioning Center location belonging to the USGS.

The Japan earthquake has turned out to be one of the five largest earthquakes in the 20 and 21st century, a list that even the 2010 Haiti earthquake isn’t on.

The measured 8.9 Japan quake occurred on March 11 at 2:46 p.m. local time just off the east coast of Honshu Japan. This then created a 13-foot tsunami that landed on the northern coast of Japan. In the United States the tsunami created 7-foot waves that crashed into the Hawaiian islands which caused no major damage. In the continental United States a tsunami warning was issued from California to Alaska, with places like Crescent City, CA seeing moderate damage.