Our days are getting longer and it’s all thanks to the moon

07 June, 2018, 03:46 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Longer days The Earth and the Moon

Previous simulations showed that when the satellite formed 4.5 billion years ago, it was just 22,500 kilometers (13,981 miles) away.

A new study has revealed days are getting longer as the Earth's rotation slows.

Now, using a new method, called astrochronology, Meyers and colleagues were able to devise a novel way to calculate the moon's influence on the days on Earth.

Earth's rotation and revolution both are actively influenced by Milankovitch cycles (variations in eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth's orbit). The force exerted by these objects can affect everything from sunlight distribution to climate change over many thousands of years.

The study author of geoscience Stephen Meyers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison explained the relation between Earth's spin and the location of Moon as that of a spinning figure skater and his arms. According to Meyers, his team had the ambition of using astrochronology to tell time in the distant past and to develop very ancient geological time scales.

But there are still many flaws within the system, the moon has been around for 4.4 billion years, around 1.5 billion years ago, at a rate of 3.82 cm per year; the Moon would have gotten dangerously close to Earth, and our planet's gravitational pull may have ripped it apart. About 1.4 billion years ago, when the moon was not that far from the earth, the days used to be just 18 hours and 41 minutes but it is 24 hours at present and increasing.


The duo developed a sophisticated statistical method that linked astronomical theory with geological observation and tested two rock layers, one from the 1.4 billion-year-old Xiamaling Formation in northern China and other a 55 million-year-old record from Walvis Ridge, in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

Meyers and Malinverno were able to identify variations in Earth's orbit, as well as how the distance between Earth and the moon as well as the length of day changed over the aeons.

Time seems to move faster as we age, but it turns out that maybe the opposite is true: our days on Earth are getting longer over time, and it's all thanks to the Moon's effect on our planet's rotation.

One day, as Meyers went to Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and gave a speech, he met Alberto Malinverno, Lamont Research Professor at Columbia.

Our faithful rocky companion used to lie far closer to our planet-close enough to alter the way it moves, researchers reported Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The results helped them look back at the history of the solar system as well as Earth's geologic past, without any uncertainties. "We are looking at its pulsing rhythm, preserved in the rock and the history of life".

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