By now you’ve all heard about the major quake that took place off the coast of Sumatra island this past Sunday and the resulting tsunamis that have so far claimed around 23,675 people in eight different countries and you’ve heard all about how it was the fourth biggest quake ever recorded since they started tracking them. It’s a stunning event to be sure, but it’s even more stunning to read that it was so powerful that it caused the Earth to wobble a bit and permanently changed the landscape in Asia:
“That earthquake has changed the map,” US Geological Survey expert Ken Hudnut told AFP.
“Based on seismic modeling, some of the smaller islands off the southwest coast of Sumatra may have moved to the southwest by about 20 meters. That is a lot of slip.”
The northwestern tip of the Indonesian territory of Sumatra may also have shifted to the southwest by around 36 meters (120 feet), Hudnut said.
In addition, the energy released as the two sides of the undersea fault slipped against each other made the Earth wobble on its axis, Hudnut said.
“We can detect very slight motions of the Earth and I would expect that the Earth wobbled in its orbit when the earthquake occurred due the massive amount of energy exerted and the sudden shift in mass,” Hudnut said.
What’s even more frightening is to see some of the tsunamis in action like in this footage from the beaches of Thailand. For those of you who want to help out here’s a link to the American Red Cross which is collection donations specifically for relief efforts for victims of the tsunamis.