Japan Earthquake Shifted Coastline Maximum Of 8 Feet, Scientists Say

Posted by Trish Riley, March 14, 2011

Dr. Daniel McNamara, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told The Huffington Post that the disaster left a gigantic rupture in the sea floor, 217-miles long and 50 miles wide. It also shifted Japan’s coast by eight feet in some parts, though McNamara was quick to explain much of the coast likely didn’t move as far.

McNamara found the way in which the quake actually sank the elevation of the country’s terrain to be more troublesome than coastal shifting. “You see cities still underwater; the reason is subsidence,” he said. “The land actually dropped, so when the tsunami came in, it’s just staying.”

The enormous tremor also shifted the Earth’s axis. According to CNN, the earthquake moved the planet’s axis approximately 4 inches.

While scientists have scrambled to gather concrete data to quantify such a powerful tremor’s effect on the Earth, the numbers don’t always add up. For example, McNamara pointed out that reports claiming the sea floor’s rift measured 93 miles wide are incorrect. As for how much the earth’s axis actually shifted, “there are all kinds of different numbers floating around,” McNamara said.

Read more from the Huffington Post here.

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