Professor Meyers, a co-author of the study which has been published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said the team used a new statistical method which allows scientists to investigate the geologic past of the Earth and explore ancient climate change. That is not less than partly as a result of the moon was nearer and adjusted the way in which Earth spun round its axis. The variations can, therefore, affect the distribution of sunlight on Earth, driving climate cycles for long periods.
It's believed that tidal and gravitational interactions between the Earth and moon are causing it to withdraw at a rate of 3.82 centimeters per year, and although it's quite subtle, the force exerted by the moon during its retreat influences Earth's rotation. The distance between the Earth and Sun varies, and the amount of solar radiation received on Earth also changes affecting the climate. This is because the moon is now moving at a rate of 3.82 centimeters per year away from Earth.
Reconstructing the history of Earth's relationship with the moon using astrochronology (astronomical theory + geological observation), researchers found that 1.4 billion years ago, days on Earth were around 18 hours long. It is expected that the length of the day on Earth will continue to grow similarly for millions of years to come.
Prof. Meyers and his team are seeking better ways of knowing what our planetary neighbours were doing billions of years ago.
Who would have thought that the moon is affecting the Earth in such a way that makes days last a bit longer per year?
Scientists have studied the passage of time on Earth for billions of years through the geologic record.
Earlier the moon used to be a lot closer to the Earth, so the effect of its gravity was seen majorly on the earth. If you ever wished to have more hours in a day, then it is the right time for you to get happy as geoscientists say that days on Earth are getting longer.
They then tested the combined approach on two stratigraphic rock layers: the 1.4 billion-year-old Xiamaling Formation from Northern China and a 55 million-year-old record from Walvis Ridge, in the southern Atlantic Ocean.
Using a new statistical method called astrochronology, astronomers peered into Earth's deep geologic past and reconstructed the planet's history. This method was utilized to identify estimations on the length of a day and the range in between Earth and the moon. "We are looking at its pulsing rhythm, preserved in the rock and the history of life". This study by Meyers led to a collaboration with Alberto Malinverno of Columbia University, notes the report.