Modern science believes that the earth was formed around 4.5 billion years ago, and since then, the blue planet's rotation has been gradually slowing down. Even though this change in slowing down of rotation is unnoticeable for humans, this phenomenon has crucial impacts on the planet's environment. And now, a new study report has suggested that this slowing down of earth's spinning is connected to increased oxygenation in the planet.
Increased oxygenation and slowing down of earth's spinning
It was around 2.4 billion years ago that blue-green algae named cyanobacteria emerged and proliferated. Researchers believe that they may have been able to produce more oxygen which made days on earth grew longer.
"An enduring question in Earth sciences has been how did Earth's atmosphere get its oxygen, and what factors controlled when this oxygenation took place. Our research suggests that the rate at which Earth is spinning – in other words, it's day length – may have had an important effect on the pattern and timing of Earth's oxygenation," said Gregory Dick, a microbiologist at the University of Michigan, Express.co.uk reports.
Days were just 18 hours on ancient earth
Fossil records suggest that days were just 18 hours long 1.4 billion years ago. According to experts, days on earth are increasing by 1.8 milliseconds a century. There are two crucial factors behind this phenomenon. The first one is because of the gravitational pull exerted by the moon on earth, which causes a rotational deceleration. The second factor is due to the increase in oxygenation levels, known as the great oxidation event.
The rise of cyanobacteria in large numbers dramatically increased the oxygen levels on earth, and thus the spinning of the earth became slower. Several experts strongly believe that life on earth, as we know it, would not have emerged and evolved without the great oxidation event.
"We realized that there is a fundamental link between light dynamics and release of oxygen and that link is grounded in the physics of molecular diffusion. A shorter day would allow less oxygen to escape a mat, even if the same amount of oxygen is produced per hour," said lead author Judith Klatt.