Tidal Forces are destroying the Earth!

When you live nearby a large body of water like a lake or river, then I’m sure you’re well aware of the tides. You get the high tide, and low tide, but what you may not realize, you’re actually witnessing what will eventually destroy the Earth.Eventually meaning in some 2.7 million years, not December 21 2012 or whatever date is floating around the internet these days as the next current apocalypse.

The tides actually hit us twice a day, once at sunrise, and once just after at sunset, called the lunar tides. The gravity from the Sun pulls the water towards it at a rate not strong enough to force it to leave the Earth, but it does affect it in a way that will move it around a bit. The moon does this as well, but it’s much more noticeable as the force it pulls the water is stronger than the force the Sun has on the same body of water.

Before I continue on, let the record state that I lied above; on purpose. Many believe that the tides are just the water moving in and out, when in fact if you look at Earth from a smaller scale, you can see that the gravitational pull on it from the Moon actually flattens it out just a little bit. Same with the sun; it’s not enough that it will squish us like Jupiter’s gravity, but it is enough that it takes a small bit of what is known as Orbital Energy away from the Earth, slowing it down just a small bit. Not even one inch a year, so it’s not anything substantial, but in 2.7 million years, one day will last what one current month is. For those that hate Mondays’, don’t be around in 2.7 million years.. it’ll last about 50 current days.

How would that destroy the Earth you must be wondering. Well it’s simple, it’s weakening the crust of the Earth. Again, not by much, and we will never self destruct before the Sun explodes, so it’s not something to keep you awake at night. On top of that, Earth is pulling the moon a bit closer to us ever so slightly. Again however, it’s not by much that we will ever notice. As the moon gets closer to us, rocks on the moon’s surface will start to fly off, and hit Earth. The moon is only 1/6th the gravity of Earth, and as it gets closer to the Earth, the gravity on it doesn’t change. What does change is the force the Earth has on surface material on the Moon. Eventually, it will self destruct in the form of being pulled apart from the equator, and everything will come crashing into Earth.

Before all that happens though, the sun will explode killing everything in our solar system. Before THAT happens, eventually one side of the Earth will always face one side of the moon, as the moon currently does with Earth. Eventually, in a few billion years after that, the same will happen to the Earth and Sun. Think of it, depending on the exact positioning of where the Moon rests in it’s geosynchronous orbit, there could be one spot in the perma-sun facing Earth that is under a permanent lunar eclipse. While it could also land on the perma-dark side of the planet giving a full moon at all times, only 2.7 million years from now will we find out. Or we could ask an Astrophysicist what would happen.. anyone know one?

Jeff Wilton

Jeff is the founder and owner of Everyday Science Stuff. ESS is a one man operation, with the core belief that all education should be served without crippling debt tuition, without revenue generating ads and without any restrictions of any kind such as paywalls, forced login and account creations, geographical restrictions, and so on.

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