Drafting – for anyone who has ever wished that there are more hours in the day, geoscientists have some good news: The days on earth are getting longer.
A new study, which reconstructs the deep history of our planet's relationship with the moon, shows that 1.4 billion years ago, a day on Earth lasted just over 18 hours. This is partly because the moon was closer and changed the way the Earth revolved around its axis.
"Asthe moon moves away, the earth is like an artistic skater spinning that slows down when you stretch your arms," explains Stephen Meyers, professor of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-author of the study published on June 4. In the minutes of the National Academy of Sciences.
It describes a tool, a statistical method, that links astronomical theory with geological observation (called Astrocronología) to look back at the geological past of the Earth, rebuild the history of the solar system and understand the ancient Climate change According to the study of the rocks.
"one of our ambitions was to use Astrocronología to tell the time in the furthest past, to develop very ancient geological time scales," says Meyers. "We want to study rocks that have billions of years in a way that is comparable to the way we study modern geological processes."
The movement of the Earth in space is influenced by other astronomical bodies that exert force on it, like other planets and the moon. This helps to determine the variations in the rotation of the Earth on its axis, and in the orbit that the Earth traces around the sun.The moon is gradually moving away from the earth at a rate of 3.82 cm a year
These variations are known as Milankovitch cycles and determine where solar light is distributed on Earth, which also means that they determine the Earth's rhythms and climate cycles. Scientists like Meyers have observed this climatic rhythm in the rock register, which spans hundreds of millions of years.
The solar system has many moving elements, including the other planets orbiting around the sun. Small initial variations in these elements can spread to major changes millions of years later; This is the chaos of the solar system, and trying to explain it can be like trying to track the butterfly Effect backwards.
Last year, Meyers and his colleagues deciphered the code of the chaotic solar system in a study of the sediments of a 90 million-year-old rock formation that captured the Earth's climatic cycles. However, the farther back in the rock register he and others tried to go, the less reliable their conclusions are.
For example, the moon is moving away from the earth at a speed of 3.82 centimeters per year. Using this current rate, scientists have extrapolated that data and due to the planet's interaction with the moon, they believe that the days have gradually lengthened at a rate of approximately 74 thousandths of a second per year.