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Antarctic shelf collapse could tilt Earth's axis: researchers

Antarctic shelf collapse could tilt Earth's axis: researchers

By Dan Karpenchuk in Toronto

Posted 5 hours 29 minutes ago

A new study in Canada suggests that the collapse of a large portion of the Antarctic ice shelf would shift the very axis of the planet.

Geophysicists at the University of Toronto looked at the possible effects on the earth if sea levels rise because of a collapse of the west Antarctic ice shelf.

The Toronto researchers say the melting of the ice sheet will actually cause the earth's rotation to shift dramatically - about 500 metres from its current position if the entire ice sheet melts - and that would result in much higher sea levels in some areas than previously expected.

The researchers say the melting would change the balance of the globe in much the same way that tsunamis move huge amounts of water from one area to another.

They say that could mean water migrating from the southern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans north toward North America and into the southern Indian Ocean.

The research has been published in today's issue of the journal, Science.

Tags: climate-change, geology, antarctica, canada

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/02/06/2484792.htm

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