Earth Days Getting Longer, Thanks To The Moon

Mindy Sparks
June 7, 2018

According to scientists from Wisconsin, Madison and Colombia Universities, the days on Earth are only about to get longer as the moon spins further away from our planet.

Many of us feel as if there are not quite enough hours in a day - but according to scientists, this could change in the future. This is because the moon is now moving at a rate of 3.82 centimeters per year away from Earth.

Days on Earth are getting longer as the Moon gradually moves away from our planet, a study has found.

Planet Earth in space moves under the influence of other astronomical bodies that exert their own gravitational forces on it, this includes other planets as well as the Moon. Then they tested it on two rock layers: the Xiamaling Formation in China that dates back 1.4 billion years, and the 55 million-year-old Walvis Ridge in the south Atlantic. Rocks have been on Earth for a very long time; they studied rocks from different time periods and made a timeline of climate changes that took place in the past.

Variations in Earth's rotation are called Milankovitch cycles and they determine where sunlight is distributed on Earth, which also determines Earth's climate rhythms.

Prof. Meyers and his team are seeking better ways of knowing what our planetary neighbours were doing billions of years ago.

For study as to how the rotation of the Earth gets affected by the orbit of the moon, the team of researchers involved in the study used astrochronology.

Experts have determined that approximately 1.4 billion years ago the Moon was located 10% closer to the Ground. "They are like signposts on a trail, allowing us to navigate geological history", said Meyers.

These complications and the number of variables that went into accurately measuring Milankovitch cycles and the Earth on the whole.

The study's approach was previously vetted by a team at Lamont-Doherty that employed a rock formation in Arizona to assess Earth's orbital fluctuations from almost circular to more elliptical on a 405,000-year cycle. Earth rotation time of 23 hours 56 minutes is considered as a duration for one day.

"But we can see the effects of changes in Earth's orbit in the fossil record, so we can provide information to astronomers that they previously couldn't find out".

The study had to surpass over some challenges, such as radioisotope dating of geological samples, the lack of a clear history about the Moon, and the "solar system chaos" theory which says that any early slight variation in solar system's moving parts triggered huge variations million of years later. "We are looking at its pulsing rhythm, preserved in the rock and the history of life", Meyers said in the statement.

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