Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have dug deep into the history of the Earth and come across this ‘exciting’ news. Professor Stephen Meyers and a team of colleagues have studied a rock – dating back to 90 million years – to look into the climate cycles of the planet. Sediments from this piece of ancient object led them to some highly interesting observations.
Influence of Moon
It is a common known fact that the duration of a day on our planet is influenced by the Moon revolving around it. At one point in time around 1.4 billion years back, one day was of the duration- 18 hours and 41 minutes. The Earth now enjoys a 24-hour day and this is greatly due to the fact that its only natural satellite has moved farther and farther away from it.
Professor Meyers described this phenomenon similar to the stretching out of a spinning figure skater’s arms when it wants to slow down his speed. As the Moon is moving away from the Earth, the rotation of the latter is getting slow; hence the duration of a day is gradually increasing.
However, vintage calculations gave slightly confusing results.
The currently known rate of the Moon’s drift away from the Earth is 3.82 cm per year. Based on that information, around 1.5 billion years back the Moon would be so close to the Earth’s gravitational effects that it would probably have been completely destroyed. The team at Wisconsin-Madison University, after a careful study of the sediment layers, were able to make more reliable and conclusive observations.