Japan quake shifted Earth on its axis

March 14, 2011 at 4:30 AM

PASADENA, Calif., March 14 (UPI) -- The magnitude-9.0 earthquake that struck Japan shifted the Earth on its axis and shortened the length of a day by a hair, U.S. scientists said.

It also moved Japan's coastline, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The redistribution of mass caused by the quake tilted the Earth's axis 6.5 inches and shortened the day by a 1.8 millionths of a second, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said.

It also made Japan about 13 feet wider than it was before, the geological survey said.

In addition, a 250-mile-long coastal section of Japan dropped in altitude by 2 feet, which let the tsunami travel farther and faster onto land, geological survey geophysicist Ross Stein was quoted by The New York Times as saying.

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