(ORDO NEWS) — A recent study has shed light on the gradual lengthening of the day on Earth, attributing it to changes in the distance between our planet and the Moon. According to experts, approximately 1.4 billion years ago, a day on Earth lasted just over 18 hours due to the closer location of the Moon and its influence on the Earth’s rotation.
A study conducted by scientists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison used a statistical method called astrochronology to understand and describe this phenomenon. Astrochronology combines astronomical theories and geological data to provide insight into Earth’s ancient geology, the evolution of the solar system, and climate transitions recorded in rocks.
The gravitational pull of celestial bodies such as the planets and the Moon influences the Earth’s motion through space, resulting in changes in axial rotation, wobble, and solar orbit. These fluctuations, known as Milankovitch cycles, have a direct impact on the distribution of sunlight and, as a result, the climate on Earth. By studying rocks over millions of years, scientists can observe these shifts and better understand long-term climate changes.
However, studying billions of years of Earth’s history poses significant challenges. Traditional dating methods, such as radioisotope dating, do not have the precision required to determine Milankovitch cycles. In addition, limited knowledge of the history of the Moon and the concept of chaos in the solar system complicate matters. Solar system chaos refers to the solar system’s susceptibility to minor initial changes that can lead to significant changes millions of years later.
Despite these challenges, in 2022, Professor Stephen Myers and his colleagues successfully examined 90-million-year-old rock deposits, providing valuable insights into the Earth’s climate cycles. However, as scientists delve deeper into the past, the reliability of their conclusions decreases.
Currently, the Moon is moving away from the Earth at a rate of 3.82 cm per year. Projecting this speed back into time, Myers suggests that about 1.5 billion years ago, the Moon would have been close enough to Earth that its gravitational interaction could have torn it apart. This contradicts the known age of the Moon, which is estimated at 4.5 billion years.
This research highlights the complex relationship between the Earth and the Moon throughout human history, and how it has influenced our planet’s rotation and climate patterns. Further research and progress in the field of astrochronology is needed to unlock the secrets of our ancient past and gain a deeper understanding of Earth’s geological time scales.
Contact us: [email protected]