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Earth knocked for a loop

Chilean quake sped up Earth's rotation, tipped planet's axis

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4:07pm, March 3, 2010

The magnitude 8.8 quake that slammed central Chile February 27 knocked the entire planet for a loop — literally. The sudden, large-scale movement of tectonic plates that triggered the quake shifted immense masses of rock a few meters closer to Earth’s core, tilting the planet’s axis a few centimeters and imperceptibly shortening the day, analyses indicate.

Disaster struck just after 3:34 a.m. local time, when seismic stresses that had been building for decades, if not centuries, let loose. Rocks along the interface between two tectonic plates slipped past each other a

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