Groundwater extraction shifted the Earth’s axis: Basics Explained

According to a new study, ‘Drift of Earth’s Pole Confirms Groundwater Depletion as a Significant Contributor to Global Sea Level Rise 1993–2010’,  which was published in the journal Geophysical Research,there is a shift in  the Earth’s axis of rotation due to the excessive extraction of groundwater for drinking and irrigation purposes.

Noting that humans pumped out around 2,150 gigatons of groundwater between 1993 and 2010, the study says that the planet’s axis has drifted at the rate of 4.36 cm per year towards the east.

In comparison to the extraction taking place in poles or equators the study noted that the groundwater extraction from North America and northwestern India, both located at the Earth’s midlatitudes, had an outsized impact on the polar motion.

Although the shift isn’t significant enough to have real-life consequences, the study shows that humans have extracted so much water from the ground that it has impacted the planet’s axis and contributed to global sea level rise.

There are also other factors that  affects  the Earth’s rotation of axis like the most rocks slowly circulating inside Earth’s mantle causes the planet’s mass to shift, or ocean currents and even hurricanes, but the study shows that it is also impacted by human activities.


  Axis is an imaginary line going right through the planet between the north and south poles. The axis is tilted somewhat off the plane of the earth’s revolution around the sun. The tilt of the axis is 23.5 degrees; thanks to this tilt, we enjoy the four seasons. For several months of the year, one half of the earth receives more direct rays of the sun than the other half.

  The equator is located at zero degrees latitude. The equator runs through Indonesia, Ecuador, northern Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Kenya, among other countries. It is 24,901.55 miles (40,075.16 kilometers) long. On the equator, the sun is directly overhead at noon on the two equinoxes – near March and September 21. The equator divides the planet into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. On the equator, the length of day and night are equal every day of the year – day is always twelve hours long and night is always twelve hours long.

The Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn each lie at 23.5 degrees latitude. The Tropic of Cancer is located at 23.5° North of the equator and runs through Mexico, the Bahamas, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, and southern China. The Tropic of Capricorn lies at 23.5° South of the equator and runs through Australia, Chile, southern Brazil (Brazil is the only country that passes through both the equator and a tropic), and northern South Africa.

Longitude is the angular distance of any point on Earth measured east or west of a point on Earth’s surface.

When looking at a map, latitude lines run horizontally. Latitude lines are also known as parallels since they are parallel and are an equal distant from each other. Each degree of latitude is approximately 69 miles (111 km) apart;. Degrees latitude are numbered from 0° to 90° north and south. Zero degree is the equator. 90° north is the North Pole and 90° south is the South Pole.


Leave a Comment


Welcome! Login in to your account

Remember me Lost your password?

Lost Password