Earthquake presents new problem for Gore

Oh dear! What is Al Gore going to do now? Instead of human caused global warming we might have nature caused global cooling or nature caused climate change. It just might happen. According to a NASA scientist, as reported by Alex Morales in Business Week , last week's powerfully devastating earthquake in Chile

probably shifted the Earth's axis and shortened the day, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist said.

Earthquakes can involve shifting hundreds of kilometers of rock by several meters, changing the distribution of mass on the planet. This affects the Earth's rotation, said Richard Gross, a geophysicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who uses a computer model to calculate the effects.

"The length of the day should have gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second)," Gross, said today in an e-mailed reply to questions. "The axis about which the Earth's mass is balanced should have moved by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8 centimeters or 3 inches)."

As with previous earthquakes

What definitely the earthquake has done is made the Earth ring like a bell," Rietbrock said.

The magnitude 9.1 Sumatran in 2004 that generated an Indian Ocean tsunami shortened the day by 6.8 microseconds and shifted the axis by about 2.3 milliarcseconds, Gross said.

The changes happen on the day and then carry on "forever," Benjamin Fong Chao, dean of Earth Sciences of the National Central University in Taiwan, said in an e-mail.

"This small contribution is buried in larger changes due to other causes, such as atmospheric mass moving around on Earth," Chao said.

A microsecond here, a microsecond there all definitely add up which means less sunshine which means lower temperatures. Eventually, oh in maybe a billion trillion years--or the number of years times our national debt--a science fiction nightmare comes true--argh! The Day The Sun Stood Still! The Day The Sun Disappeared! Life Forever in the Dark!

But never fear--scientist Al Gore is working to combat this now. And making millions in the process.