Mount Everest was moved about 1.18 inches, or about 3 centimeters, by the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that devastated Nepal in April. The mountain, which has been slowly moving about 1.5 inches, or about 3.8 centimeters, to the northeast each year, has shifted to the southwest because of the temblor, according to the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation in China.
An earthquake-resistant design developed by Chilean engineering firm Sirve has been proven to help buildings withstand large quakes, as evidenced by the fact that the 52-story Torre Titanium La Portada tower -- the tallest in Santiago -- remained standing during a severe 2010 earthquake. The seismic protection Sirve used on that tower included shock-absorbing steel dampers on two sides of every third story. Those dampers absorbed about 40% of the ground's movement during the magnitude 8.8 earthquake before returning the building to its original shape. There was no structural damage.
Experts say China's devastating earthquake probably won't boost the bottom line at firms such as Caterpillar Inc. and Deere & Co. "Earthquakes and other natural disasters almost never cause much of a change in the trend or magnitude of overall equipment sales," says Alex Blanton, an industry analyst at Ingalls and Snyder. In fact, profits at Western manufacturers could actually be hurt if the quake further increases China's need for steel.
China's two largest oil companies said the killer earthquake in Sichuan province forced them to shut some gas wells and an oil refinery in the city of Nanchong. PetroChina Co. has cut daily gas output from Sichuan by about 14%. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. said aftershocks and blocked transportation links led it to keep gas wells closed. Natural gas demand could drop until business resumes in the province, which uses about 19% of China's supply, said Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. analyst Cheng Khoo in Hong Kong.