Geologist says Earth has shrinking waistline

According to a new study from Russian Geologist at Kant Russian State University in Kaliningrad, our planet is shrinking. Since its early days the Earth’s average radius has reduced by 585 kilometers.

Professor Vyacheslav Orlenok says , "4.5 billion years ago, when Earth’s surface had just started to solidify, the little blue ball was a bit bigger. Its average radius was 6,956 km, and has since reduced by 585 km.

Over the eons this resulted in the reduction of its surface by 128 million square kilometers, as compared to the total area of all the continents today of about 149 million square kilometers. The shrinking is a major factor in tectonic processes such as the movement of continental platforms".

The reduction in size was due to gravitational forces and the loss of mass caused by the Sun’s radiation blowing away hydrogen atoms from the Earth’s atmosphere, explains the scientist, who has been studying the formation of Earth’s oceans and crust for more than 30 years.

The theory of a shrinking earth is contestable, commented Vladimir Shevchenko, a geologist at the Institute of Earth Physics, who spoke to Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.

“Now it’s impossible to make an exact calculation of the ancient Earth’s radius based on ancient structures,” he said, adding that alternative theories of an expanding or “pulsating" Earth also exist.

A reduction in the radius and considerable variations in the volume, surface area, mass, and average density of the earth were calculated from amplitudes of the Precambrian and present-day surface relief.

Over a period of 4 Gyr, the overall reduction in the Earth’s radius from heat and mass losses was determined to be 52 km or 1.30 × 10−3 cm/year. At the same time, the gravitational contraction of the radius was estimated to be 52.0 km or 1.30 × 10−3 cm/year as well.

A good correlation between the epochs of global cratonization of the earth’s crust and the reduction in the sphere volume was established. The inverse problem of calculating the heat flow from the gravitational contraction of planets was solved.

The theoretical value for heat flow on the Moon’s surface (1.7 × 1018 J/year) is comparable to that measured by American astronauts (1.9 × 1018 J/year).

Via - RussiaToday

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