How the Great Quake changed the face of the Earth

8 years ago by in Featured, Japan

The Great Earthquake from March 2011, the largest in the history of Japan, not only devastated some parts of the country but brought some significant, lesser known changes to the geography of the Earth.

OurAmazingPlanet has counted some of the strangest effects of the quake and tsunami over our planet.

The most spectacular is that, due to the shock, the Earth’s spin accelerated and the 24-hour day became shorter by 1.8 microseconds. How could the planet’s rotation accelerate? The distribution of Earth’s mass was changed during the quake, according to a NASA scientist who calculated the effect.

Not only did the day shorten, but the gravity was changed as well. Due to the strength of the quake, the pull of gravity in the affected regions were altered. This caused a small reduction of the gravity field in the area.

The powerful quake also produced vibrations in the atmosphere which reached the largest height measured to date – about 350 kilometers above the Earth.

Some huge icebergs in Antarctica broke about 18 hours after the quake, as satellite images revealed.

Another spectacular effect was that the quake ripped off chunks in the seafloor under the Tohoku region which measured 1 to 3 meters across.