Fifty years ago | December 18, 1969 Archives

From the Archives (December 18, 1969): Moon responsible for life on earth

The moon may be responsible for life on earth, an Interior Department geophysicist suggested yesterday [December 17]. Dr. S. Fred Singer said cataclysmic changes inside the earth four billion years ago when the planet “captured” the moon as its satellite could have started the evolutionary processes which led to man. Dr. Singer outlined his theory on the moon’s origin and its link with the beginning of life at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Dr. Singer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Scientific Programmes in the Interior Department, said the moon was originally a “sister planet” of the earth which circled the sun in a similar orbit. At some time shortly after the formation of the two planets – more than four billion years ago – the moon passed the earth, was captured by its gravitational attraction and pulled into orbit around it, Dr. Singer said. The result was cataclysmic, he said, with the moon’s tidal forces – which still regulate the earth’s ocean tides – pulling the earth out of its spherical shape into the form of “a football.” The earth, which has been spinning once every five hours, slowed down to something nearer the present 24-hour day. The distortions of the earth’s interior and the huge energy releases as it slowed down produced enough heat to melt the rocks deep inside.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 6:44:14 AM |

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