Kevin Voigt, CNN (March 12, 2011)
"The powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami Friday appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis.
" 'At this point, we know that one GPS station moved (8 feet), and we have seen a map from GSI (Geospatial Information Authority) in Japan showing the pattern of shift over a large area is consistent with about that much shift of the land mass, said Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
"Reports from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy estimated the 8.9-magnitude quake shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters)...."
We're learning more about how Earth's inner forces work - which is fascinating in an abstract sort of way, at least for the Lemming, but which is also a very practical matter.
Building earthquake-resistant structures is more a matter of engineering now, and less of guesswork, than it was a half-century ago. Thanks in part, the Lemming's heard, to Japan's interest in not letting a replay of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake.
As for a largish chunk of Earth's crust abruptly shifting by eight feet? Looks like that may not be all that unusual. Information Age technology makes it possible to get real-time and near-real-time data about exactly where 'fixed' locations are: and last year we found out that a city in Chile had jumped about 10 feet during another earthquake. March 10, 2010)
As the Lemming observed at the time: Change happens.
- "Chile City Moved 10 Feet West: Change Happens"
(March 10, 2010)
- "Haiti isn't Chile: Earthquakes, Economics, and Building Codes"
(March 1, 2010)
- "Earth's Oceans Changed: Now We Know How Much"
(February 5, 2010)
- "World's Largest Earthquake-Safe Building: Open for Business in Istanbul"
(November 21, 2009)