WASHINGTON (AFP) - The powerful earthquake that shook Chile on Saturday probably shifted the Earths axis and made days slightly shorter, a NASA scientist said. Richard Gross, a research scientist at NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, calculated that the planets axis would have shifted by eight centimetres during the 8.8 magnitude quake, NASA said in a statement. Earth days are 24 hours long because thats the amount of time it takes the planet to make one full rotation on its axis, so shifting the axis would affect rotation. If, indeed, the planets axis did shift by eight centimetres during the Chilean quake, days would have shortened by 1.26 microseconds, Gross calculated. A microsecond is one-millionth of a second, so no need to adjust watches just yet. The Chilean quake shifted the Earths axis by even more than the 9.1-magnitude temblor off Indonesia that set off the deadly tsunami in Asia in 2004, Gross worked out. Thats partly because the faultline responsible for the earthquake in Chile dips into Earth at a slightly steeper angle than does the fault responsible for the 2004 Sumatran earthquake and is more effective at moving Earths mass vertically and shifting the planets axis. Meanwhile, the tsunami triggered by the Chile quake swept far inland and ravaged 200 kilometres of coastline, the head of army operations here said, warning the death toll could top 1,000 in the Maule area alone. The tsunami affected 200km of coastline, at places sweeping 2,000 metres inland, General Bosco Pesse, who is running emergency operations in the region of a quarter million people, told AFP. Some 600 people died in this area, but the toll could climb to 1,000. Chiles President Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday upped the official national death toll to 795, but many of the smaller coastal areas have not yet been reached with roads left impassable after Saturdays quake. Our emphasis is on the coastal areas for now, Pesse said. People seem very happy to see the army moving in here to help after this disaster.