Earth’s rotation slows down: what are the consequences?

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Since the Earth originated 4.5 billion years, little by little, his rotation slowed down. Although that is not noticeable throughout life, this slow but inexorable brake has as a clear consequence the lengthening of the days. However, this phenomenon could also be connected with the oxygenation of the earth’s atmosphere.

Now, an international research team proposes that the increased day length on Earth primitive –the spin of the young planet gradually slowed down over time, making the days longer – there may be boosted the amount of oxygen released by photosynthetic cyanobacteria, thus determining the moment of oxygenation of the Earth, as published in the journal ‘Nature Geoscience’.

His conclusion was inspired by a study of today’s microbial communities growing in extreme conditions at the bottom of a submerged sinkhole in Lake Huron, 30 meters below the surface of the water. The water of the Middle Island sinkhole in the United States, is rich in sulfur and low in oxygen, and the brightly colored bacteria that thrive there are considered good analogues of the single-celled organisms that formed carpet-like colonies thousands of years ago, carpeting land and sea floor surfaces.

More oxygen, longer days:

Researchers show that the longer length of the day increases the amount of oxygen released by photosynthetic microbial mats. This finding, in turn, points to a link not previously considered between the history of the oxygenation of the Earth and its rate of rotation. While the Earth now rotates on its axis once every 24 hours, the length of the day was possibly as short as 6 hours during the planet’s infancy.

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The main authors son Judith Klatt, from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Germany and Arjun Chennu, of the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research. Klatt is a former postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of the Gregory Dick, who is one of the two corresponding authors of the study. The other co-authors are from the University of Michigan and Grand Valley State University.

“Our research suggests that the speed at which the earth rotates, in other words, the length of the day, may have had a major effect on pattern Y the moment of oxygenation of the Earth “explains Dick, a professor in the UM Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

One of the keys to understanding the proposed link between the change in day length and oxygenation of the Earth is that the Longer days prolong the period of high light in the afternoon, allowing photosynthetic cyanobacteria to produce more oxygen.

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