BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Although we cannot feel it, the rotation of our planet is slowing down. It’s barely noticeable, as there’s a delay of only several seconds or minutes, but even this can have some terrible consequences. The phenomenon might lead to the apparition of more earthquakes next year, but there is one advantage as well. This way, we can improve our mechanism of prediction.
Earth’s rotation is slowing down
Two scientists have been keeping a close eye on Earth’s rotation and how long a day is for several decades, and observed how it evolved. On some occasions, the rotation was prolonged with a millisecond, while on others, we lost a few. Although it doesn’t sound like a big deal, these small changes can have a huge impact on our planet.
Roger Bilham, from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Rebecca Bendick, from the University of Montana, explained that the changes contributed to the release of underground energy. All their findings have been published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
This disruption affects the planet’s solid crust, leading to earthquakes
Whenever Earth’s rotation slows down, the number of earthquakes increases. Unfortunately, these earthquakes are more severe, many of them exceeding magnitude seven. However, the phenomenon can help us improve our mechanism of quake prediction. Once we notice a slowdown in the rotation of the planet, we have a period of five years when we should be on the lookout for five massive earthquakes at most.
If the length of a day doesn’t stay uniform over the decades, the magnetic field of the planet suffers a ripple. This happens since the planet spins at a speed of 460 meters per second. Once this imbalance occurs, there is a small clash between the liquid core of the planet and the solid core, resulting in earthquakes. Based on these observation, next year, we should be expecting five more big earthquakes than usual.
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