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Conflict & Tragedy

Coast of Japan moves 8 feet after earthquake, shifts earth's axis

The 8.9 magnitude earthquake that shook Japan on Friday has moved the entire country eight feet to the east. It also shifted the axis of the earth by approximately ten inches.

While it may not sound like a lot, it is enough to affect the seasons, and the amount of time it takes the planet to complete one full revolution. According to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy, each day will now be a few minutes shorter.

Michael Bostock, a University of B.C. earthquake seismology professor told the Montreal Gazette, "The earth's rotation will now shift at a different speed because the globe's mass has been redistributed."

The movement of Japan's coast was due to a shift of subsea land masses, also known as plates, which are in constant motion. As pressure builds under the plates, they push upward until one moves over the other. The buckling of the plates cause earthquakes, and if they occur under water, can cause a tsunami as the water on the sea floor is displaced.

Friday's earthquake in Japan was the worst to ever hit the Island nation, and the fifth worst in recorded history.