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Thread: The moon and her influence on plate tectonics

  1. #1 The moon and her influence on plate tectonics 
    New Member
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    Feb 2010
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    -- This is more of a line of thought line then a Hypothesis --

    Idea: The moons influence on the earths geodynamics thru time has accetuated global plate tectonics and may act as a weaking catalyst which helps maintain tectonic activity.

    1st - I must establish the conditions that have been theorized to exist within the Earth-Moon system thru time and from that carry some assumptions. The moon was born from the debris of a giant impact and as such has an orbit which is recceding from earth. Therfore its current influence on the earth is decreasing with time.

    Likewise, as we go back in time, the moon comes closer and her influence increases, steadily, until the point of origin - the birth of the moon.

    Since tidal forcing is the cube of the distance, all tides would have been stronger in the past up to a maxima near the point of origin. Lets pick one point in the past when the moon was 1/4 the distance then she is now. That would increase tidal forcing on the planet to 64(?) times the current tidal strength along with a change in frequency. At this level, lithospheric tidal forcing would be quite strong and this force would be acting on thinner immature crust. A significant equitoral bulge related to forcing from the moon would likely exist. Flexing from the movement of this lithospheric tide would have worked on the surface of the earth, keeping the surface broken and in a metastable state for longer then would otherwise occour without the moon (Venus). We have seen a dramatic example of crustal disruption due to tidal forcing from images of Io.

    Since that time this forcing has been steadly decreasing. Today this forcing still exists and still provides significant influence onto the earths geodynamics. If current theory proves correct then in the future our moon will be lost to us, our crust will be completly stabilized, and plate tectonics will cease.

    Any ideas on this subject? Thanks for reading!


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  3. #2  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    My banal conceptualization involves a pot of sauce convecting on the stove-top, with a jigsaw of surface scums which.. uh, subduct. Anybody else watched this phenomenon? If you vibrate the pot the edges do subduct more quickly. So lunar tide acts like vibration of the pot.

    I would really love to see a proper stove-top model of tectonics... I think it's quite do-able with the right ingredients. (sorry for the digression)


    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  4. #3  
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    Oct 2012
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    imagine the impact the moon had when it was much closer to earth than it is now.
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