How magnetism might explain the formation of the Earth-Moon system

(ORDO NEWS) — There are several theories about how the Earth and Moon formed, most of which involve a giant impact.

Scientists from the University of Leeds and the University of Chicago analyzed the dynamics of fluids and concluded that the Earth must have been magnetized before the impact, or magnetized as a result of it.

They argue that this could help narrow down theories on the formation of the Earth and Moon and serve as a basis for future research into what really happened.

Professor David Hughes, Applied Mathematician at the University of Leeds School of Mathematics, said: “Our new idea is to point out that our theoretical understanding of the Earth’s magnetic field today can indeed tell us something about the formation of the Earth-Moon system.

At first glance, this seems somewhat surprising, and previous theories have not recognized this potentially important connection.”

Professor Fausto Cattaneo, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago, explained: “A peculiar property of the Earth’s dynamo is that it can support a strong magnetic field and not amplify a weak one.”

Therefore, scientists came to the conclusion that if the Earth’s field “turned off” or decreased to a small level, it would not be able to “turn on” again.

“It is this remarkable feature that allows us to draw conclusions about the history of the early Earth, including how the Moon formed,” added Professor Cattaneo.

“And if that’s true, then you have to think, where did the Earth’s magnetic field even come from?

Our hypothesis is that the Earth came into this peculiar state at the very beginning, either before the impact, or directly as a result of the impact.

In any case, any realistic model of the formation of the Earth-Moon system must include the evolution of the magnetic field,” Professor Hughes said.

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