NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
A reappraisal of Darwin's fission hypothesis and a possible limit to the primordial angular momentum of the EarthG. H. Darwin proposed that the primordial Earth may have rotated fast enough that the solar tidal period was nearly resonant with the fundamental free oscillation period of a fluid Earth and that a large and unstable tidal oscillation split off to become the moon. Jeffreys argumented that dissipation during resonance would be sufficient to prevent such an unstable oscillation greater than the tidal frequency (period - 2.68 hr). It is considered that solar tides have extracted angular momentum from the Earth-Moon system over 4.5 b.y. The correspondence of the primordial tidal and resonant frequencies is nearly exact. (The effect of central condensation of the proto earth is to increase both frequencies by a similar amount, though the resonance is not precisely known. This result, was unknown to Darwin or Jeffreys. The effects of resonance were evaluated. The resonance is likely to be too damped for fission. This argument is more general than Jeffreys', who considered friction between the oscillating mantle and a rigid core. It is argued that the fact that Q must be so great for fission that equilibrium can not be maintained; the fluid proto Earth passes so quickly through resonance that maximum amplitude is not reached. It is suggested that solar resonant tides acted as a brake on the spin of the primordial partially molten Earth. Certain proposed origins for the Moon do not necessarily involve addition of substantial amounts of angular momentum to the Earth-Moon system. The primordial Earth-Moon system may have had nearly the same angular momentum as it has today.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Mckinnon, W. B. (Washington Univ. Saint Louis, MO, United States)
Mueller, S. W. (Washington Univ. Saint Louis, MO, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1984
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar Planetary Inst. Conf. on the Origin of the Moon
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Related Records

IDRelationTitle19850005400Analytic PrimaryConference on the Origin of the Moon