When a large earthquake hits, it doesn’t just tear apart the Earth’s crust and wreak havoc on buildings in the area: The seismic upheaval actually causes changes in the strength of gravity. Three hours later, the Japan Meteorological Agency raised that to 8.8. Scientists studied the gravity changes caused by the earthquake soon after it took place, finding that Earth’s crust had become the tiniest bit thinner, making gravity in that area just a tiny bit weaker—nothing you would notice standing there, of course, but enough to measure from satellites.

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