Big Earthquakes and Smaller Days

This article caught both my eye and my wife’s for the same reason yesterday: “Chile Earthquake May Have Shortened Days on Earth” (3/2/2010, Space.com).

Image of Earth from NASA'a Terra satelliteThe article explains that the 8.8 Chilean earthquake may have allowed a redistribution of mass on the earth that would shorten the length of each day by 1.26 milliseconds and shifted the figure axis of the earth by 3 inches, or 8 cm.  (The “figure axis” is not, by the way, the same as the axis around which the earth spins, though it is close to it.  It is the axis about which the earth’s mass is balanced and differs from the axis of rotation by about 33 feet.)

The article notes that the infamous tsunami-causing 9.1 Sumatran earthquake of 2004 had shortened the day by 6.8 microseconds and also moved the figure axis by about 3 inches.

What struck both me and my wife was Christ comments about the days ahead of us.  In Matthew 24:7, Mark 13:8, and Luke 21:11, Christ speaks of “earthquakes in various places” (“great earthquakes” in Luke), where “various places” can indicate that the locations of these quakes may be unusual.  Christ reveals in Revelation 6:12-14 in the opening the sixth seal (which hasn’t happened yet, however some few may claim that it has) that there will be an earthquake so great that every mountain and island will be “moved out of its place.”

If these earthquakes have changed the speed of the rotation of the earth and redistributed its mass in measurable ways, however small, it causes me to wonder just what sort of influence the coming earthquakes of literally biblical proportions will ultimately have.

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7 thoughts on “Big Earthquakes and Smaller Days

  1. rakkav

    Is it my imagination, Dear Sir, or are you BLOGGING a whole lot more these days? Either that means you’re not busy enough now or else you’ve been WAY too busy for too long. 🙂

    Anyway, this illustrates why astronomers have to cross-check their ephemerides of lunar and planetary motions against historical records. Massive weather patterns such as El Nino and La Nina can lengthen or shorten the day, too. The moon’s influence slowly lengthens the day. Had the day remained unchanged from today into the past, a total solar eclipse that passed right over Babylon in the second century BC would’ve passed 1500 miles to the east. It’s not that the day was that much longer, but that it changed on an irregular basis too.

    N.B.: I type this on my iPod touch. This would be SO much easier on an iPad. 🙂 Finally saw enough of the intro to be most interested in its future – ANYTHING of that sophistication is revolutionary for a dedicated Luddite like me.

  2. Norbert

    I would say that “technically” earthquakes can move every mountain and island out of their place, but the amounts given so far are so small that observation cannot see it. And the science behind this doesn’t seem that far fetched.

    Here’s a webpage that gives somewhat of a simple understanding:

    http://www.uwgb.edu/DutchS/PLATETEC/RotationQk2004.HTM

    However considering the context surrounding Rev 6:14, all people will be quite aware of that earthquake’s impact on the globe and react accordingly.

  3. Perhaps this is slightly off topic, but something that strikes me about not only the magnitude of these quakes, but also their positioning, especially the one in the Indian Ocean back in 2004, and the more recent one in Haiti.

    The devastation and the ensuing circumstances seem to have caught the entire world’s attention. It’s as if they were specifically designed to be tied directly to those prophecies in Matthew 24:7, Mark 13:8, and Luke 21:11.

    Definitely some exciting and interesting times we seem to be moving into.

  4. The first verse that comes to my mind from this story is Matthew 24:22, from KJV. “And except those days be shortened, there should no flesh be saved….”

    The researcher who made this claim told NPR once an earthquake shortens the day, the day cannot be lengthened again. This left me asking — why not? Couldn’t a movement of plates in the opposite direction do that?

    Come to think of it: did God do something like that to benefit Israel n Joshua 10?

    Oh, the questions to be asked and answered when we see Jesus face-to-face!

  5. Thomas

    We might end up with months that are exactly 30 days long in the Millenium. That would make the calendar a bit easier to handle!
    Of course, if that were the case, the days would be shorter by about 20-odd minutes. We would have to redefine the second, or something, if we still wanted 24 hrs to the day. That would also mean a fantastically massive earthquake, or series of earthquakes, for that amount of time to be taken out of the day.
    The above is just pure speculation, but still interesting none the less 🙂

  6. Steve

    I started thinking about Isa. 24:19-21. “The earth is violently broken.. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard…” Or Joel 3:14-16. “The Lord will also roar from Zion.. The heavens and earth will shake…”

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