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Author Topic: What was the impact of having all the landmass of Earth together?  (Read 4151 times)

Offline Chris Ryan

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Chris Ryan  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear Naked Scientists,

I was looking at several sources regarding Gondwana (as it was circa 220 million years ago) and would like to know what impact having almost all the landmass together (above the surface of the water) in one position would have had on the Earth's rotation. 

We know that the Chandler wobble is caused by equatorial bulges and other imperfections in the earth's distribution of matter but would having all the land mass on one side of the planet 220 million years ago have caused enough of a wobble to break up of the surface into the tectonic plates we see today?

Is the 'vibration' this uneven distribution would have caused the origin of plates or is there another cause?

Further, if the movements of the plates is something to do with the rotation of the earth causing the surface to 'balance out', does this mean that the plates will eventually slow down and reach some kind of equilibrium?
 
Regards,
 
Chris Ryan
( newbielink:http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/podcasts/ [nonactive] in Hong Kong)

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 06/03/2010 00:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline Jolly- Joliver

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I'm not sure, I think alot of the mountain regions have formed since the break up, of the land.

The sea still plays a roll in the shape, apparently it's the shape that is imporatant and having all the land in one area does change the shape slightly, I suppose it would have changed the wobble of the earths rotation, wether that wobble was the ultimate cause for the break up is an interesting question.

Systems always seem to seek the point of balence or equilibrium. I'm not sure but I see your point, having the land on one side causes a lopsided planet, which could cause problems in relation to it's rotation around the sun. To suggest, that over time the planet has streamlined, because of the different forces at play and found the place for the land, that is best suited to it's journey arround the sun.

If that is true and it could be, then knowing the position best suited for the earth, to have it's land mass, could inform the future movenment of the land masses, but then considering that the land masses are alway changing through corrosion, plate movements, volcanic activity, earth quakes and human activity ect..., it appears to me to be a processs that will never stop.

So I think there might be an amount or a zone of equilibrium, but that the planets internal activities will always cause some unbalence.

So I think it will never stablise completly into one fixed form(unless god decides it should ofcourse).

Not sure about vibrations causing the plates origin, but they could have played a role.
 

Offline JimBob

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In other words, Wiybit, you have no idea what is going on, just as I don't.

I can say however, that it is most likely to cause a wobble in the way the earth rotates on its axis as that is the best gusss from a scientific background.   
 

Offline Jolly- Joliver

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In other words, Wiybit, you have no idea what is going on, just as I don't.


I'm offering my oppinion, and posing questions related to it, this forum is a place to discuss science, I even state "I do not know", "I am not sure" I am asking questions just as he is.


I can say however, that it is most likely to cause a wobble in the way the earth rotates on its axis as that is the best gusss from a scientific background.   

So you dont know either that's your best guess, what is the difference to what I said? I claimed no facts there, just my ideas, my questions and my thoughts on his question.

I do not see the issue,

P.s Geezer just threated to ban me over it, I don't get that, we are all here trying to learn.

P.P.S His question has been there for a Year with no reply from anyone, I at least said something to him.
« Last Edit: 04/04/2011 23:37:24 by Wiybit »
 

Offline Tinabiscuit

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Hi
As a very late response to Chris Ryan, I think there is an effect of land mass distribution on the wobble of the earth.

It is a belief that hundreds of millions of years ago the majority of land mass was in the southern hemisphere and we know that approximately 71% of the land mass is now in the northern hemisphere. In order to reach an equilibrium the land would oscillate between the poles for millions of years, until settling at the equator; fracturing and combining as it goes.  The land mass is also predominantly on one face of the earth, which should cause a wobble just as an unbalanced wheel on a car would wobble.

Furthermore, and just an opinion, at the point of perfect distribution of land mass, an equilibrium, the earth would spin faster. I like to think that we could orbit the sun in 360 days, being the perfect 360 degrees.

Just a thought.

TB



 

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