The Treehouse + The Cave

The Treehouse + The Cave: Lost Time <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src=""></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: '\x3d9561264\x26blogName\x3dThe+Treehouse+%2B+The+Cave\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3d\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3d\x26vt\x3d-2611371644715887499', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Lost Time

I learned two days ago that on December 26th, the day of the earthquake off of Sumatra, Indonesia and the subsequent tsunami, my day was shortened by 2.68 microseconds.

"Like a spinning skater drawing arms closer to the body" the earth spun slightly faster as the quake shifted the mass of great plates towards the center of the planet. In fact, the power released by the earthquake was sufficient to change the planet's shape, alter the Earth's wobble, and shift the North pole several centimeters. The decrease in day length was just one of many invisible yet massive effects, shed by the most powerful seismic event since 1964.

Via The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Blogger hipp-o thought:

thanks for posting this - i was about to hunt for it :)

the increase speed of the earth's spin makes me think of all kinds of questions.

-how is determined what time noon is? hear me out - lets say if we could generate a series of richter scale 10 earthquakes (w/ no devastating consequences of course) maybe we could speed the rotation long enough so that say at noon the next day the sun is low in the western sky. would we change what time noon is at by setting are clocks back because we had lost so much daytime?

24 hours would not equal one day for that day.
20 hours would equal one day.
but our orbit around the sun wouldnt change, so the day would be shorter and the year would be longer w/ respect to how many days it takes to orbit the sun.

April 5, 2005 at 12:48 PM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger Andy thought:

You could alter the rate at which the Earth spins via the same principle, using thermonuclear detonations (assuming that you were able to guarantee that a majority of the mass stirred by the explosion, moved towards the core of the planet).

Alternatively, you could cut the tops off of mountains and stuff them into caves, that'd work if you stuffed enough caves.

I wonder how the meteor that ended the age of dinosaurs effected the length of the day?

April 5, 2005 at 1:09 PM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger Mick thought:

Let's see...2.68 microseconds/9.3 earthquake...1,000,000 earthquakes would net about a second...times 60 for a minute times 60 for an hour times ten for the "hippo shift" give or take an order of magnitude or so. Ought to generate sufficient energy that not harming anything would be somewhat difficult.

How many earthquakes = an asteroid? A million would get you a second. Did T-Rex miss his second in the holocaust?

Learn more at and

April 5, 2005 at 1:50 PM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger heather thought:

Welcome to Dorktown, pop. 3

April 5, 2005 at 2:58 PM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger hipp-o thought:

heather's just mad that this particular dorktown is a little for her to travel and she wished it was a little bit nearer to her academic "home."

that being said:

mick: when did you get so practical? where's the fun in that? your a scientist for gods sake, not an engineer :)

that being said, 4 hours of lost time shall now forever be known as a "hippo shift", i love it!


April 6, 2005 at 5:20 PM - Comment Permalink  

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