Planet Earth May Have 'Tilted' To Keep Its Balance
Can you imagine a shift in the Earth so profound that Alaska would sit at the equator rather than where it is located now? If such a shift occurs, where would you be? At the Earth poles perhaps!
The theory, known as true polar wander, postulates that if an object of sufficient weight -- such as a supersized volcano -- ever formed far from the equator, the force of the planet's rotation would gradually pull the heavy object away from the axis the Earth spins around. If the volcanoes, land and other masses that exist within the spinning Earth ever became sufficiently imbalanced, the planet would tilt and rotate itself until this extra weight was relocated to a point along the equator.
By analyzing the magnetic composition of ancient sediments found in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, Princeton University's Adam Maloof has lent credence to a 140-year-old theory regarding the way the Earth might restore its own balance if an unequal distribution of weight ever developed in its interior or on its surface.
Image: © Maloof Laboratory / Princeton University
Tags: True Polar Wander | Earth | Tilt | Shift | Balance | Rotate | Distribution | Science