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Thread: Does the weight of the Earth ever change.

  1. #1 Does the weight of the Earth ever change. 
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    Hi to all, this is my first post so go easy on me.

    We were having a debate at work today as to whether the weight of the earth changes under certain circumstances.

    The question is, that if you grew a forest and cut it down, then piled up all of the wood somewhere, then regrew the forest and cut down all of the wood again. If you repeat this process several times would it add to the mass of the earth or as the other side of the argument goes, the mass of the new wood would be couteracted by the loss of nutrients taken from the growing process.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this, or point me towards a post if a similar question has been asked elswhere


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  3. #2 Re: Does the weight of the Earth ever change. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raphilass
    Hi to all, this is my first post so go easy on me.

    We were having a debate at work today as to whether the weight of the earth changes under certain circumstances.

    The question is, that if you grew a forest and cut it down, then piled up all of the wood somewhere, then regrew the forest and cut down all of the wood again. If you repeat this process several times would it add to the mass of the earth or as the other side of the argument goes, the mass of the new wood would be couteracted by the loss of nutrients taken from the growing process.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this, or point me towards a post if a similar question has been asked elswhere

    In the way you've described it, no, the mass of the Earth is unchanged. All that happened in that case was a redistribution of mass - just as you suspected when you included the loss of nutrients from the soil and CO2 from the air.

    But you can spring this on your friends if they aren't aware of it. The mass of the Earth increases every single year because it constantly receives debris from space - meteorites, dust - to the tune of many tons annually.


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    Forum Ph.D. Nevyn's Avatar
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    The mass of the Earth does change in very minescule amounts due to the energy taken in by plants and trees during Photosynthesis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    The mass of the Earth does change in very minescule amounts due to the energy taken in by plants and trees during Photosynthesis.
    I don't follow your reasoning at all! Please explain what you are trying to say - how could that effect the mass? Energy contributes NO weight/mass at less than relativistic speeds.
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    ignore my post, I feel fuzzy and its bucketin rain outside. I can tell today isn't going to be a good day
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    This is just my wild guessing but I would think we gain more mass than we lose. We gain mass from meteorites/meteors on a daily basis but I am not sure we lose much if any mass. So I'd *think* we gain a bit of mass over time.
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    We are losing a certain amount of the atmosphere, especially to the ablative effects of the solar wind. I suspect this is smaller than the amount gained from meteorite influx.
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  9. #8  
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    The Earth loses mass in small amounts. Mass is converted into energy with the production of radiation. Most of the heat created withing the Earth is from radioactive processes. This is then released into space. If energy wasn't released beyond the levels absorbed from the sun then the Earth would be sizzling.

    E = mc2 BOOM. the Sun also loses mass. The Earth, like the sun, lost mass with each nuclear explosion.

    One won't get more than a guess as to 'if' more matter is released into space than is added via meteorites, etc. When a large bolide hits such as a comet or asteroid it's not known how much 'Earth meteors' are blown into space. Material is blown off planets by strikes (such as the famous Mars meteorite that was the product of speculation of life on that planet). A lot depends on the angle, impact site, maerial of the bolide,geology at the impact site, etc. Too many variables to do more than speculate.
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  10. #9 Just as I thought 
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    Thanks for all the replies, it is just as i Thought, although explained slightly better. of course one thing that will be making the planet lighter is all of the space junk we are dumping in space.....like Satellites n stuff
    There are more things on heaven and earth than are thought of in your philosophy.
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    i just loss 5 pounds...and i am on the earth...so the earth loss 5 pounds
    "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." - John Lennon
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    Every time someone becomes a politician, the weight of the world decreases by 3 pounds.
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    "Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you." Alan Alda
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jellyologist
    The Earth loses mass in small amounts. Mass is converted into energy with the production of radiation. Most of the heat created withing the Earth is from radioactive processes. This is then released into space. If energy wasn't released beyond the levels absorbed from the sun then the Earth would be sizzling.

    E = mc2 BOOM. the Sun also loses mass. The Earth, like the sun, lost mass with each nuclear explosion.

    One won't get more than a guess as to 'if' more matter is released into space than is added via meteorites, etc. When a large bolide hits such as a comet or asteroid it's not known how much 'Earth meteors' are blown into space. Material is blown off planets by strikes (such as the famous Mars meteorite that was the product of speculation of life on that planet). A lot depends on the angle, impact site, maerial of the bolide,geology at the impact site, etc. Too many variables to do more than speculate.
    There's little need to guess or speculate. According to the article I'm about to link to, about 40 tons of space dust settles on the Earth each and every day. I've seen very similar numbers on NASAs website and other places. Now... if 40 tons of nuclear material inside the Earth was converted to pure energy every single day (as you are supposing), the surface of the planet would be MUCH too hot to support or allow any kind of life at all.

    Here's the link: http://www.popsci.com/popsci/aviatio...cbccdrcrd.html
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    As per the law of physics, mass can't be created or destroyed, it only gets transformed
    Used rvs From USA.
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  15. #14  
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    1. Thread necromancy.
    2. Single post.
    3. Link to another site.

    Conclusion: spam.
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  16. #15  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    So is the final answer that the mass of the earth changes constantly, albeit not on a scale we humans would notice, unless you are one of those scientists that are anal and into measuring the mass of the earth.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Now... if 40 tons of nuclear material inside the Earth was converted to pure energy every single day (as you are supposing), the surface of the planet would be MUCH too hot to support or allow any kind of life at all.
    Wrong. (But you are right that it is actually much slower)
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  18. #17  
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    Riddle me this nerds.If I have a baby and it gains mass, does Earth not get heavier?If i lose weight does Earth lose mass?
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    Where do you think the baby's mass comes from? Where do you think your lost mass goes?
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  20. #19  
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    Several tons are added every year due to small body collisions. And photosynthesis does not magically add mass.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teelo View Post
    Riddle me this nerds.If I have a baby and it gains mass, does Earth not get heavier?
    No, because the weight you gain comes from your environment through food etc, so it was already part of the earth anyway. All you are doing is converting energy from one form into another.
    maxabillion888 likes this.
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  22. #21  
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    Hi
    First there is a difference between mass and weight. Mass is the amount of matter in an object, weight is the amount of gravity being exerted.
    So to answer the question whether weight changes or not. It is yes . The exact weight of the earth changes daily, although it is a immensely tiny fraction of the overall weight.
    Population does not affect this.
    When people are conceived, and undergo growth, it is by absorbing nutrients
    If you are to ask about whether the mass changes daily. This is also yes, the earths gravity is pulling in dust and meteorites which increases the mass of this earth, sometimes if pulls a comet which increases it by a great number. Thank you for your consideration!
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    The mass of the Earth does change in very minescule amounts due to the energy taken in by plants and trees during Photosynthesis.
    I don't follow your reasoning at all! Please explain what you are trying to say - how could that effect the mass? Energy contributes NO weight/mass at less than relativistic speeds.
    What he's saying is that everything that grows breaks down into energy in the long run, and this energy is used to grow new things- so basically, it's a cycle. However, the energy of the sun also slightly contributes to plant growth, and there is no way for the energy gathered to get back to the sun, so it's technically adding to the mass
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxabillion888 View Post
    What he's saying is that everything that grows breaks down into energy in the long run, and this energy is used to grow new things- so basically, it's a cycle. However, the energy of the sun also slightly contributes to plant growth, and there is no way for the energy gathered to get back to the sun, so it's technically adding to the mass
    Well put.
    Though I will point out that he asked that several years ago...
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