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Scientists ID Three Causes of Earth's Spin Axis Drift


Polar motion

The observed direction of polar motion, shown as a light blue line, compared with the sum (pink line) of the influence of Greenland ice loss (blue), postglacial rebound (yellow) and deep mantle convection (red). The contribution of mantle convection is highly uncertain.

Credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech

A typical desk globe is designed to be a geometric sphere and to rotate smoothly when you spin it. Our actual planet is far less perfect—in both shape and in rotation.

From Jet Propulsion Laboratory/NASA
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