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WRITER FUEL: Earth Tipped On Its Side 84 Million Years Ago

Earth Tilt - Pixabay

Welcome to the latest installment of “Writer Fuel – cool real-world stories that might inspire your little writer heart. Check out our Writer Fuel page on the LimFic blog for more inspiration. Today:  

Earth has not always been upright. Turns out, the planet’s crust tipped on its side and back again around 84 million years ago, in a phenomenon that researchers have dubbed a “cosmic yo-yo.”

The actual name for the tipping is true polar wander (TPW), which occurs when the outer layers of a planet or moon move around its core, tilting the crust relative to the object’s axis. Some researchers had previously predicted that TPW occurred on Earth late in the Cretaceous period, between 145 million and 66 million years ago, but that was hotly debated, according to a statement by the researchers.

However, the new study strongly suggests TPW did occur on Earth. Researchers mapped the ancient movement of Earth’s crust by looking at magnetic-field data trapped inside ancient fossilized bacteria. They found that the planet tilted 12 degrees relative to its axis around 84 million years ago, before fully returning to its original position over the next 5 million years.

Full Story at Live Science

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