Rock strata dating suggests planetary orbital effects on climate

From the University of Wisconsin

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a ‘chaotic solar system’

Plumbing a 90 million-year-old layer cake of sedimentary rock in Colorado, a team of scientists from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Northwestern University has found evidence confirming a critical theory of how the planets in our solar system behave in their orbits around the sun.

cretaceous-cycles-3-775x581

Alternating layers of shale and limestone near Big Bend, Texas, characteristic of the rock laid down at the bottom of a shallow ocean during the late Cretaceous period. The rock holds definitive geologic evidence that the planets in our solar system behave differently than the prevailing theory that the they orbit like clockwork in a quasiperiodic manner. PHOTO: BRADLEY SAGEMAN

The finding, published Feb. 23, 2017 in the journal Nature, is important because it provides the first hard proof for what scientists call the “chaotic solar system,” a theory proposed in 1989 to account for small variations in the present conditions of the solar system. The variations, playing out over many millions of years, produce big changes in our planet’s climate — changes that can be reflected in the rocks that record Earth’s history.

Photo: Stephen Meyers

Geoscience Professor Stephen Meyers. © GIGI COHEN

The discovery promises not only a better understanding of the mechanics of the solar system, but also a more precise measuring stick for geologic time. Moreover, it offers a better understanding of the link between orbital variations and climate change over geologic time scales.

Using evidence from alternating layers of limestone and shale laid down over millions of years in a shallow North American seaway at the time dinosaurs held sway on Earth, the team led by UW–Madison Professor of Geoscience Stephen Meyers and Northwestern University Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Brad Sageman discovered the 87 million-year-old signature of a “resonance transition” between Mars and Earth. A resonance transition is the consequence of the “butterfly effect” in chaos theory. It plays on the idea that small changes in the initial conditions of a nonlinear system can have large effects over time.

In the context of the solar system, the phenomenon occurs when two orbiting bodies periodically tug at one another, as occurs when a planet in its track around the sun passes in relative proximity to another planet in its own orbit. These small but regular ticks in a planet’s orbit can exert big changes on the location and orientation of a planet on its axis relative to the sun and, accordingly, change the amount of solar radiation a planet receives over a given area. Where and how much solar radiation a planet gets is a key driver of climate.

This animation shows a chaotic solar system and changing planetary orbits playing out over billions of years, illustrating the slight chance in the distant future of planetary collisions. Geologic evidence was recently found to confirm the idea that the planets in our solar system do not orbit the sun like clockwork in a quasiperiodic manner, as has been believed since the 18th century. Credit: Jacques Laskar

“The impact of astronomical cycles on climate can be quite large,” explains Meyers, noting as an example the pacing of the Earth’s ice ages, which have been reliably matched to periodic changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit, and the tilt of our planet on its axis. “Astronomical theory permits a very detailed evaluation of past climate events that may provide an analog for future climate.”

To find the signature of a resonance transition, Meyers, Sageman and UW–Madison graduate student Chao Ma, whose dissertation work this comprises, looked to the geologic record in what is known as the Niobrara Formation in Colorado. The formation was laid down layer by layer over tens of millions of years as sediment was deposited on the bottom of a vast seaway known as the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway. The shallow ocean stretched from what is now the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, separating the eastern and western portions of North America.

“The Niobrara Formation exhibits pronounced rhythmic rock layering due to changes in the relative abundance of clay and calcium carbonate,” notes Meyers, an authority on astrochronology, which utilizes astronomical cycles to measure geologic time. “The source of the clay (laid down as shale) is from weathering of the land surface and the influx of clay to the seaway via rivers. The source of the calcium carbonate (limestone) is the shells of organisms, mostly microscopic, that lived in the water column.”

The finding is important because it provides the first hard proof for the “chaotic solar system,” a theory proposed in 1989 to account for small variations in the present conditions of the solar system.

Meyers explains that while the link between climate change and sedimentation can be complex, the basic idea is simple: “Climate change influences the relative delivery of clay versus calcium carbonate, recording the astronomical signal in the process. For example, imagine a very warm and wet climate state that pumps clay into the seaway via rivers, producing a clay-rich rock or shale, alternating with a drier and cooler climate state which pumps less clay into the seaway and produces a calcium carbonate-rich rock or limestone.”

The new study was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation. It builds on a meticulous stratigraphic record and important astrochronologic studies of the Niobrara Formation, the latter conducted in the dissertation work of Robert Locklair, a former student of Sageman’s at Northwestern.

Dating of the Mars-Earth resonance transition found by Ma, Meyers and Sageman was confirmed by radioisotopic dating, a method for dating the absolute ages of rocks using known rates of radioactive decay of elements in the rocks. In recent years, major advances in the accuracy and precision of radioisotopic dating, devised by UW–Madison geoscience Professor Bradley Singer and others, have been introduced and contribute to the dating of the resonance transition.

“Other studies have suggested the presence of chaos based on geologic data. But this is the first unambiguous evidence …”

Stephen Meyers

The motions of the planets around the sun has been a subject of deep scientific interest since the advent of the heliocentric theory — the idea that the Earth and planets revolve around the sun — in the 16th century. From the 18th century, the dominant view of the solar system was that the planets orbited the sun like clockwork, having quasiperiodic and highly predictable orbits. In 1988, however, numerical calculations of the outer planets showed Pluto’s orbit to be “chaotic” and the idea of a chaotic solar system was proposed in 1989 by astronomer Jacques Laskar, now at the Paris Observatory.

Following Laskar’s proposal of a chaotic solar system, scientists have been looking in earnest for definitive evidence that would support the idea, says Meyers.

“Other studies have suggested the presence of chaos based on geologic data,” says Meyers. “But this is the first unambiguous evidence, made possible by the availability of high-quality, radioisotopic dates and the strong astronomical signal preserved in the rocks.”

– See more at: http://news.wisc.edu/from-rocks-in-colorado-evidence-of-a-chaotic-solar-system/#sthash.vtKvXCKY.dpuf

h/t to Joe D’Aleo

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274 thoughts on “Rock strata dating suggests planetary orbital effects on climate

    • I don’t know but it makes what passes for ‘climate science’ look like burning heretics on a bonfire.

      • I’m not sure that Milankovich theory works as well as he tries to make out. It kinda works, except for when it doesn’t.

        In 1988, however, numerical calculations of the outer planets showed Pluto’s orbit to be “chaotic”

        This is probably due to the presence of a very massive trans-neptunian object ( ie. another planet )

        This has become fairly well accepted in the last year or two though the length of observations on very slow moving outer planets does not yet allow a clear indication of its current position.

        Recent estimation gives 10 to 100 Earth masses ( though this range of values usually gets misreported as simply 10 EM, we still find it frightening so it has to be as small as possible ).

    • From what’s said it appears the Milankovitch precession effects are part of this theory. The orbits of the planets, including the axis of preccession of the planet, the preccession of the orbits and their shapes, and the orbital inclinations of each planet with respect to the sun are are all affecting each other in a chaotic way over hundreds of millions of years. Milankovitch’s theory is a bit shorter term portion of this and has specific things to say about the effects on the earth.

      The classic 3 body problem taken to the nth degree. And chaotic orbits means it’s impossible to predict a specific future course of events.

      • When one thing zigs, while the other zags, colloquially speaking; or when one thing zigs or zags half heartedly, and the other with mucho gusto…

        Even when the periods of correlation are impressive, when there are periods of weak or inverse correlation, you are looking at an influence, not a controlling effect.

        Go to Leif’s website and check out his work. Correlations at the above levels make his wastebasket instantly. Even when you have correlation at .98, you cannot be sure you are lookng at control; but it is prerequisite.

    • Tom Halla
      how do they distinguish this effect from the Milankovich preccession effects?
      This is Milankovich. It leaves such a profound and repeatable signature in geological formations that it is absurd that folks are still holding out in denia1 of Milankovich orbital effects on climate and ice ages.

      It also means that the Milankovich cycles and their timings can be expected to change over millions of years.

      • Riiiight, here’s the money graph from the paper:

        While some orbital effects are undeniable, they are not controlling, and a large measure of “chaos” lies between the hypothesis and the data.

      • Well, when we compare a Milankovitch curve to the ice temperatures of Arctic or Antarctic curves taken from the ice cores, it does not show almost not any coincidence. If we want to save the reputation of Milankovitch we have to say, it does not affect in the poles but faintly. We should compare the curves of Milankovitch with submarine records at lower latitudes.

      • The problem is not with the orbital cycles described by Milankovitch and already known before him, The problem is with Milankovitch interpretation that glacial-interglacial periodicity responds to 65°N 21st June insolation. That is at its core Milankovitch’s theory, and as such it is incorrect. Glacial-interglacial periodicity responds to obliquity. It always has and it always will. And that is not what Milankovitch said. Both Antarctic cores and benthic cores support this interpretation.

      • When one thing zigs, while the other zags, colloquially speaking; or when one thing zigs or zags half heartedly, and the other with mucho gusto…

        Even when the periods of correlation are impressive, when there are periods of weak or inverse correlation, you are looking at an influence, not a controlling effect.

        Go to Leif’s website and check out his work. Correlations at the above levels make his wastebasket instantly. Even when you have correlation at .98, you cannot be sure you are lookng at control; but it is prerequisite.

      • The same issue of Nature contains a second article (Tzedakis et al) that I read yesterday. Both of the articles are briefly discussed in this Nature comment.

        I will put up the Tzedakis article in the next comment. The link between the two is that both deal with a sudden shift in the timing of two oscillations. The Tzedakis article deals with the more recent shift, from 41,000 years per glaciation between 2.6 and 1 million years ago to about 100,000 years over the last million years. It is a surprising example of a model with just two inputs (summertime insolation at 65N latitude and time since the last previoius deglaciation) and yet it can hit just about every glaciation over the full 2.6 million years.

        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/75831381/Meyers%20Nature.pdf

      • The Tzedakis et al., 2017 article is very supportive of many of the points that I made in my October article at Judith Curry’s blog Climate Etc.
        https://judithcurry.com/2016/10/24/nature-unbound-i-the-glacial-cycle/
        Available as a pdf download here:
        https://sabercathost.com/4Df5/Nature_unbound_1.pdf

        In particular they introduce a new rule for defining interglacials and come up with the same interglacials that I identified in my article:

        “A period is an interglacial if its isotopic value is below a threshold. Two isotopic minima (for example, MIS 15e and 15a) are separate interglacials if there is a local maximum above a second threshold between them; otherwise, the second isotopic minimum forms a continued interglacial (for example, MIS 7a is a continuation of MIS 7c), without a glacial termination or interglacial onset (Extended Data Figs 1–3 and Supplementary Table 1). An important aspect of this definition is the occurrence of more than one interglacial within an isotope stage—a divergence from traditional assumptions about the temporal spacing of interglacials. As a result, interglacials of the past 800 kyr (Fig. 1) do not occur every 100 kyr and are not always preceded by one of the traditionally numbered glacial terminations defined over this interval.”

        Their figure 1 is essentially the same as the bottom part of my figure 5. The identification of MIS 7c, 7e, 15a, and 15c as four separate interglacials essentially destroys the 100 Kyr cycle, and they recognize it.

        Their figure 2 is very, very similar to my figure 12, and they define the obliquity windows for interglacials in the same way I do:

        “The onset of every interglacial occurs during intervals of above-average obliquity (>23.3°; grey shading in Fig. 2)”

        I did my shading in blue and orange in figure 12. It is very strong evidence that interglacials only happen during periods of high obliquity.

        Also their figure 5 with the three segments that separate failed interglacials from successful ones is very much like my figure 6, where the blue line also shows three segments at about the same time.

        So all in all I could not ask for a better support for some of the most controversial parts of my article. In fact had this been published before I wrote the article, I could simply have referenced most of these things and use its figures.

        An interesting conclusion of their work is that MIS 3, 50,000 years ago was very, very close to have become an interglacial, in which case we would be now in an interstadial within a glacial period. Human history would have been completely different. Either advanced civilization would have developed 40,000 years ago or would still be 30,000 years in the future. I also saw that MIS 3 was really an anomaly. Our last glacial is the first one to be 120 kyr long. It is funny how things work, because that “accident” has been determinant in the genesis of the 100 kyr cycle myth. We always give an exaggerated importance to whatever happens closest to us, like the present global warming.

    • Willis, I cannot see the logic of the arguments either. One example.
      “The finding is important because it provides the first hard proof for the “chaotic solar system,” a theory proposed in 1989 to account for small variations in the present conditions of the solar system.”
      I read a lot of hand waving and speculation, but no structure where the chaotic hypothesis could be tested.
      Also the regular, repetitive sediment layers would suggest some regular and perhaps predictable cyclical process.
      Another study.

      • I’m with you Lance. Mars is small and quite far away. Venus is closer and larger. Jupiter is further away, but MUCH larger. If planets affect Earth’s climate, Mars seems a strange candidate for the primary driver. And its orbital period — 687 days — seems not a very tidy multiple of the Earth’s 365 days. Where’s the “resonance”?. What we seem to have here is evidence of sorts for 1.2/2.4 million year (?) climate cycles in the Cretaceous. I’m fine with that. There’s abundant evidence today and in the geologic record for cyclic phenomena with periods of hundreds of thousands or millions of years. But the rest of this stuff seems to me to fall between Immanuel Velikovsky (“Worlds in Collision”) and the religious tracts produced by interpreters of the climate models. At least the climate models make sense even if they don’t seem to work very well.

    • Basically, the argument is that the Milankovitch Cycle calculations are not quite accurate enough and there is resonance effect from Mars that is not taken into account.

      This has to be proven rather than just inferred from rock layers that really do not accurate enough dating.

      The Milankovitch calculations are said to be very accurate within +/- 5 million years but I suppose they could be wrong. Proof is needed however.

      • You left out the effect of Jupiter’s gravity field on Earth’s orbit. It is NOT just Mars.

        I can produce a chart that shows quite clearly NO regularity in length of time in any of the interglacial periods or glacial maxima over the last 600,000 years up to the present interglacial period. In regard to axial tilt, the angle of the poles move one degree every 72 years, giving a period of 25, 620 years for a full 360-degree circle. The slight change in seasonal angle toward the sun may have a great deal to do with other changes.

      • Bill Illis, agree with “This has to be proven rather than just inferred from rock layers that really do not accurate enough dating.”

        Best proof would be finding / observations of collapsed solar solar systems due to colliding massive objects in that solar systems.

        sure not any near 21st century.

      • Interesting article anyway – combining stratigraphic data with meteospheric / heliospheric phenomena can be useful sometimes.

      • From the graphs presented in the paper, I see four bumps in some rather noisy data. One of those is supposedly a bit different. They seem to be eye-balling the time interval between troughs and / or peaks in the graphs and finding they are not quite consistent. This all looks very ad hoc and subjective. I see no statistical analysis of significance and honestly with only four bumps you are not going to find any.

        That is supposed to be “proof” of something / anything ?

      • Sara, thankyou! There was a discussion a few weeks ago on WUWT about the axis rotational period. While at PSU in late ’60’s, we used 26,000 years for the full 360 degree rotation. More recent articles are using 21,000, which I contested. But it also made me doubt by memory of nearly 50 years. Appearently my senility phase has not yet begun! ;)

      • Bill,

        Both 26K and 21K cycles are correct.

        The Earth’s axis completes one full cycle of precession approximately every 26,000 years. Meanwhile, the elliptical orbit rotates, more slowly, leading to a 21,000-year cycle between the seasons and the orbit.

    • Agree. As presented it is too too house-of-cards based on to many rabbits being plucked from assorted hats.

  1. Most interesting post. On RV trips across the US, I have often stopped to observe the rock layers and wondered what forces were creating the periodicity in the layers. Now I have less to wonder about.

    • Russ, I guess I didn’t see what you saw. Is periodic or quasi-periodic behavior “hard proof” that the system is chaotic?

    • Leonard, can’t see that point in Russ’ comment.

      Anyway there’s high probability that ‘more than 2 bodies’ problems lead to chaotic emergencies.

  2. Newton knew the solar system was chaotic. He estimated that predictions of planetary positions more than about a billion years out, would be impossible.

    Quoting him: ““the Planets move one and the same way in Orbs concentrick, some inconsiderable Irregularities excepted, which may have arisen from the mutual Actions of Comets and Planets upon one another, and which will be apt to increase, till this System wants a Reformation.”

    He had the mechanism exactly right: periodic perturbations.

    • That quote doesn’t prove that Newton believed in a chaotic system. It only states that there are other influences on planetary movements.

      • That quote doesn’t prove that Newton believed in a chaotic system. It only states that there are other influences on planetary movements.

        Are you a liberal arts student?

        Do you actually understand calculus?

        It is not a matter of belief. Newton’s laws when applied correctly to a many body problem will as Newton understood, always have an outcome which was way beyond the computational power of the calculus he had developed, and he knew that.

        Chaos theory is essentially a term that has been lately applied to a problem that has been known about ever since calculus was invented, namely that just because a Law is expressed in terms of a partial differential equation, which is shown to be as accurate as is is needed, unless that differential equation is linear, any result that accrues from the combination of two or more such equations cannot be simply computed.
        I.e f(x + y) != f(x)+f(y)

        That is, knowing that all planetary motion is totally governed by Newton’s laws, is not sufficient of and by itself to predict planetary movements with extreme precision for millions of years.

        For two reasons:

        The solution to the sum of two or more non linear differential equations (with respect to e.g. time) cannot be expressed as a single equation, but only as an infinite series of instantaneous solutions, which one of which depends on the solution to the previous.

        This has two important qualities:

        (i) you need to do a huge amount of computation to get an approximate answer. Prior to the digital computer, this was simply impossible.

        (ii) where you end up depends critically on where you begin. The butterfly effect. Small errors in computing or measuring the state of the system at one point, may critically effect where it ends up. As also will lack of infinite precision in the mathematics used to compute the stages. Again peole think this is something new, but its not. Its just that since we couldn’t do millions of iterative calculations before the advent of the computer, it really wasn’t of more than academic interest.

        In general the stability of such systems is not well understood, and we are not even – as far as my research has gone – even able to determine which sorts of differential equations are quasi-stable and lead to e.g. ‘planets in orbit’ and which are not.

        In one of Roger Penrose’s books he makes the point that a computer large enough to predict the outcome of the monstrous non linear differential equations that comprised everything, would be as large as the Universe itself.

        I am sure Douglas Adams realised this when in his fiction the earth was discovered to be simply a giant simulation experiment being run by pan dimensional white mice…

        The point is this. We always have known, if we looked carefully, that this is all the case. It hasn’t been worth looking at it closer, because we didn’t have the tools to make anything of it.

        Today with immense computing power perhaps we do. That’s all. Since 1970 or thereabouts the possibility of obtaining partial, more or less inaccurate solutions to some non linear differential equations has grown. Hence ‘climate change’ (still really beyond us).

        Chaos theory is nothing new. What is new is that we have, with the digital computer, made very very slight inroads into partially solving a few of the more simple problems that comprise it.

        This particular problem is worrhy of note because planetary orbits on 9-10 planets all of which obey Newtonian or Einsteinian mathematics is a relatively simple system and it should be possible to construct a model and run it backwards to validate against geologic data, and run it forward to see where we end up.

        This is not however a new theory. merely the application of raw modern computing power to an old problem that we didn’t have the means to tackle hitherto. And one more likley to yield interesting results than trying to predict climate change with GCMs.

        GCMS are essentially all about predicting the overall effective albedo of the earth given a more or less constant solar input. This would be about calculating the solar input variability.

      • GCMs are like trying to model the SS without knowing the mass of the planets nor having an accurate value for the position and velocity of any of the planets as a starting point and only having a rough idea of the value of the gravitational constant.

        In fact Newton did not have an accurate value for the planetary masses but was still able to get further than GCMs which do not even get the first ten years of a run right.

      • Chaos is a modern concoction. It only appeared after the rejection of Einstein’s
        “God doesn’t play dice with the universe.”

      • Chaos is only a modern concoction in the sense that its a new name for an old problem. Cf the ‘three body problem’

        Its advent is not associated with anything Einstein had to say, because it is in fact Turing’s godchild. IN two ways. First of all his theories of incomputability were the forerunner of the analysis of just how far maths and logic could go, and chaos is on the edge of that, and secondly because its the advent of digital computers based on ‘Turing machine’ principles that made chaos theory relevant as just as the power of computers opened up new areas, we ran head on into the chaos we had always avoided before, because we didn’t have the computing power to get to it .

        WE are now is as much of a mess as Newton was when before years of bum-scratching he came up with the calculus of infinitesimals – the analytic tool that drove science for the next 400 years.

        Today the cutting edge of science is in a real mess. We have phenomena for which no coherent universal theory exists in quantum physics, and we have theories that are as true as any scientific theory can be (when tested in simple experiment, they give the right result) but are totally useless in the real world, because they occur in combinations that render the resultant mixture beyond the power of computational analysis, and chaotic. CO2 climate change is a classic example. You can prove that CO2 interacts with radiation in specific ways, but that actually gives no inkling whatsoever of whether its increase in the atmosphere will lead to any climatic effects at all.

        IN fact its likely its effect on vegetation and photosynthesis will be far more dominant – it may well change the flora distribution and hence fauna distribution of the planet.

        One way of looking at fossil fuel is that it represents a fertilizer that until Nature invented Man, was locked away to the point where plants were dying from lack of CO2.

        Burning it has re-greened the planet.

        This is a partial differential equation. We say more CO2= more plants. Like AGW says more CO2 = higher temps = less plants.

        If more vegetation lowers temperatures by e.g. promoting evaporative losses from the tropics then the world might get colder.

        So we can make plausible cases for CO2 making the world cooler instead of hotter.

        Which effect dominates (if either are significant) is where we throw our hands up in horror and say ‘me head hurts’

        My point is finally this: Just because some journalist or some magazine with copy to sell represents something as old as Calculus as ‘new’ doesn’t mean it is so.

        There is – and its typified by the climate change thing) a serious existential crisis in the whole of Western thought.

        Science has so to speak picked all the low hanging fruit, and what’s left are a core of seriously hard problems., some of which, like quantum physics, challenge the very understanding of the nature of the world we think we are investigating.

        With sciences absolute replacement of an intelligent willful God, with blind mechanistic forces of Nature, we have lost our moral sense as a culture, and into the vacuum has been poured the faux morality and the specious psychology of Marxism and other politics of discontent, what our American readers would recognise as Liberalism, or what we in Europe tend to call Socialism.

        And this is a far greater crisis. If science, having killed God, is now seen to be fatally flawed, it opens the door to any post truth mumbo jumbo, as being ‘of equivalent truth content’.

        If science is no better than the Koran at predicting climate, why not learn the Koran instead….its a LOT easier.

      • @ Leo Smith

        The above is an exceptionally great commentary and I thank you for posting it.

        The brilliance in/of a simple statement of fact, to wit:

        One way of looking at fossil fuel is that it represents a fertilizer that until Nature invented Man, was locked away to the point where plants were dying from lack of CO2.

      • Leo Smith
        February 25, 2017 at 2:31 am

        Thanks Leo for your write up. I understand the perspective from where you are coming from. The perspective that I have taken is much too complex to be laid out in a blog format. I will only leave this reference about where we are in science – Aristotle is probably rolling in his grave and Epicurus is laughing away.

      • @Leo Smith

        “… And this is a far greater crisis. If science, having killed God, is now seen to be fatally flawed, it opens the door to any post truth mumbo jumbo, as being ‘of equivalent truth content’.”

        The problem with the AGW crowd is the belief in the theory itself justifies any methodology. They do not recognize any external value system which imposes limits. Their “models” are vast, sophisticated tautologies. But every skeptical argument stems from the idea that there are principled external limits. This is a moral battle.

    • I will agree with you on that. Your other comment concerning Newton’s reformation I believe pertains to the hand of God intervening to maintain planetary orbital stability.

    • Newton lived in a far different time. He was born in the same year that Galileo died — 1642. That’s about 30 years after Kepler determined that planets traveled in elliptical orbits around the sun. Newton and his contemporaries were still trying to sort out the complexities of a heliocentric universe. The concept of chaotic motion would probably have made sense to him. He was a brilliant guy. But he was mostly trying to make sense out of stuff that seems obvious to us today, but was anything but obvious at the time.

      • What Newton was trying to do was to find a way to express a relationship that he already knew worked pretty well. That elliptical orbits with equal areas traversed in equal time was pretty close. That in itself leads more or less directly to the idea of a force as that which produces a change in motion, being some form of inverse square law.

        The rest of his genius was in inventing almost simultaneously with Leibnitz, the ‘Calculus of the infinitesimals’ – a mathematical trick that solved the problem of expressing – in the case of differential calculus – the change in one thing with respect to another at any given point.

        The fact that chaos is the inevitable result of so doing when applied to multiple differentials that are not linear, is inherent in the Calculus itself.

        This is what wiki has to say about the most basic three body problem

        The gravitational problem of three bodies in its traditional sense dates in substance from 1687, when Isaac Newton published his “Principia” (Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica). In Proposition 66 of Book 1 of the “Principia”, and its 22 Corollaries, Newton took the first steps in the definition and study of the problem of the movements of three massive bodies subject to their mutually perturbing gravitational attractions. In Propositions 25 to 35 of Book 3, Newton also took the first steps in applying his results of Proposition 66 to the lunar theory, the motion of the Moon under the gravitational influence of the Earth and the Sun.

        The physical problem was addressed by Amerigo Vespucci and subsequently by Galileo Galilei; in 1499 Vespucci used knowledge of the position of the moon to determine his position in Brazil. It became of technical importance in the 1720s, as an accurate solution would be applicable to navigation, specifically for the determination of longitude at sea, solved in practice by John Harrison’s invention of the Marine chronometer. However the accuracy of the lunar theory was low, due to the perturbing effect of the Sun and planets on the motion of the Moon around the Earth.

        Jean le Rond d’Alembert and Alexis Clairaut, who developed a longstanding rivalry, both attempted to analyze the problem in some degree of generality, and by the use of differential equations to be solved by successive approximations. They submitted their competing first analyses to the Académie Royale des Sciences in 1747.

        It was in connection with these researches, in Paris, in the 1740s, that the name “three-body problem” (Problème des Trois Corps) began to be commonly used. An account published in 1761 by Jean le Rond d’Alembert indicates that the name was first used in 1747.

        In 1887, mathematicians Heinrich Bruns and Henri Poincaré showed that there is no general analytical solution for the three-body problem given by algebraic expressions and integrals. The motion of three bodies is generally non-repeating, except in special cases

        The three body problem is the oldest and simplest chaotic problem. Newton was aware of it completely.

      • In a Sherlock Holmes story, Holmes says to Watson, “It’s always obvious to you, after I’ve explained it”. We can substitute Newton for Holmes in this instance.

  3. Possibly interesting. There is a clear distinction between looking for information consistent with a theory (not science) and testing a falsifiable prediction which would be a consequence of the theory (science). I can’t figure out which of the two has happened here.

  4. So is this saying that they have observed from geology (!) that planets don’t orbit the Sun in accordance with Newtonian physics – moderated by relativity for Mercury – but by a chaotic mathematical model?

    This seems remarkable from the viewpoint that we have managed to derive physics from observations in the first place. And also from the fact that the solar system has been stable for a very long time.

    This doesn’t make sense to me.
    Please try and explain how they have derived Chaos in the movement of the planets.

      • I recently put a practical observation made by some Inuit hunters from the NWT (Nunavut) on my site, simply because I’ve been out on the land with some of these guys in the past and know their practical understanding of their high arctic environment. Not sure why they came to that conclusion, other than they did. I just found it an interesting observation. Would that mean that the South pole gets the opposite effect?

        https://notonmywatch.com/?p=1088

      • “I recently put a practical observation made by some Inuit hunters from the NWT (Nunavut) on my site …”
        I can believe likely that something is going on up there, but it’s unlikely to be a sudden shift in the Earth’s orbital parameters. That’d cause a multitude of effects including causing every astronomical telescope to be pointed at the wrong place and satellite acquisition tables (used for satellite tracking and commanding) to point the antennas at places the satellites aren’t. People would notice. GPS would presumably stop working right as well. I’m sure folks would notice.

      • The Old Man February 24, 2017 at 6:33 pm

        … Not sure why they came to that conclusion, …

        They observed that the stars are rising at different places on the horizon. That would be caused by atmospheric refraction if the air is warmer and/or more humid. I trust their observations.

        I don’t think the planet has shifted much in its orbit over the last few hundred years. We use astronomical tables, calculated in advance, for navigation. We do avoid using stars near the horizon because of atmospheric refraction.

        If the planet’s orbit had changed, we would have noticed and we would have the data to prove it.

      • “They observed that the stars are rising at different places on the horizon. That would be caused by atmospheric refraction if the air is warmer and/or more humid. I trust their observations.”

        They also claim that the sun is coming higher in the sky. That is not true, and cannot be due to refraction. So I don’t trust their observations.

      • tty February 25, 2017 at 3:31 am

        … They also claim that the sun is coming higher in the sky …

        In the arctic the sun spends the majority of its time less than 20 deg above the horizon. That’s in the zone that navigators don’t trust because of atmospheric refraction. It’s quite possible the sun would appear too high in the sky.

        If I had to choose between you and old Levi to keep me alive in the arctic, the choice would be easy.

      • I hope you are aware that refraction increases at lower temperatures, so if it causes the sun to appear to come higher in the Arctic it means that it is getting colder there. If I femember rightly the largest refraction ever recorded by a navigator was during one of Shackleton’s Antarctic expeditions.

        And as for keeping You alive in the Arctic I’m far from sure whether I could, but so far I have at least managed to keep myself alive both there and in the Antarctic.

      • Just quoting what tty posted

        They observed that the stars are rising at different places on the horizon. They also claim that the sun is coming higher in the sky.

        Sounds to me like the simple answer to their observed changes could be a localized case of subduction or uplift that caused a slight “tilting” and/or ”twisting” of the surface.

        Keeping “track” of observed star movement led to many discoveries in ancient times.

        That’s why I have always figured that the Great Pyramid of Giza was originally constructed to be used as a, per se, “reflecting telescope”.

      • tty February 25, 2017 at 8:55 am

        … so far I have at least managed to keep myself alive both there and in the Antarctic.

        Other than the Eskimos, it is very rare to meet people capable of keeping themselves alive in the arctic without outside intervention. Most of those people were trained by the Eskimos.

    • So is this saying that they have observed from geology (!) that planets don’t orbit the Sun in accordance with Newtonian physics – moderated by relativity for Mercury – but by a chaotic mathematical model?

      My understanding is that besides Newtonian physics and relativity, resonance between the earth and other planets occurs over millions of years to produce other effects. This would be just like a small push on a swing at the right times producing a huge height at some point. Similarly, appropriate tugs between Mars and Earth produce interesting results after millions of years. I do not then see why tugs between Earth and Venus and Saturn and Jupiter would also not affect things in a similar manner.

      • SMC:

        Thanks for this reference. It’s a beautiful historical treatment of the work of Lagrange and Laplace on the calculations of the perturbations due to Jupiter and Saturn.

      • Here is the conclusion of the beautiful article by Laskar in the arxiv reference provided by SMC.

        With the JADE machine, we were able to simulate 2501 different solutions of the
        movement of the planets of the whole Solar System on 5 billion years, corresponding
        to the life expectancy of the system, before the Sun becomes a red giant. The
        2501 computed solutions are all compatible with our current knowledge of the Solar
        System. They should thus be considered as equiprobable outcomes of the future of the
        Solar System. In most of the solutions, the trajectories continue to evolve as in the
        current few millions of years : the planetary orbits are deformed and precess under
        the influence of the mutual perturbations of the planets but without the possibility
        of collisions or ejections of planets outside the Solar System. Nevertheless, in 1%
        of the cases, the eccentricity of Mercury increases considerably. In many cases, this
        deformation of the orbit of Mercury then leads to a collision with Venus, or with the
        Sun in less than 5 Ga, while the orbit of the Earth remained little affected. However,
        for one of these orbits, the increase in the eccentricity of Mercury is followed by an
        increase in the eccentricity of Mars, and a complete internal destabilization of the
        inner Solar System (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars) in about 3.4 Gyr. Out of 201
        additional cases studied in the vicinity of this destabilization at about 3.4 Gyr, 5
        ended by an ejection of Mars out of the Solar System. Others lead to collisions
        between the planets, or between a planet and the Sun in less than 100 million
        years. One case resulted in a collision between Mercury and Earth, 29 cases in a
        collision between Mars and the Earth and 18 in a collision between Venus and the
        Earth (Laskar and Gastineau, 2009). Beyond this spectacular aspect, these results
        validate the methods of semi-analytical averaging developed for more than 20 years
        and which had allowed, 15 years ago, to show the possibility of collision between
        Mercury and Venus (Laskar, 1994).

        These results also answer to the question raised more than 300 years ago by
        Newton, by showing that collisions among planets or ejections are actually possible
        within the life expectancy of the Sun, that is, in less than 5 Gyr. The main surprise
        that comes from the numerical simulations of the recent years is that the probability
        for this catastrophic events to occur is relatively high, of the order of 1%, and thus
        not just a mathematical curiosity with extremely low probability values. At the
        same time, 99% of the trajectories will behave in a similar way as in the recent past
        millions of years, which is coherent with our common understanding that the Solar
        System has not much evolved in the past 4 Gyr. What is more surprising is that
        if we consider a pure Newtonian world, the probability of collisions within 5 Gyr
        grows to 60 %, which can thus be considered as an additional indirect conrmation
        of general relativity.

    • We “have managed to derive physics from observations” over a very short period, indeed. We have no assurance that even our physical constants are “constant” over a “very long (cosmological) time”. It is convenient to make the assumption that “the solar system has been stable for a very long time.”

    • I think rather it is saying that the three (or more) body problem produces chaotic changes in orbits in the truly mathematical sense.

    • “So is this saying that they have observed from geology (!) that planets don’t orbit the Sun in accordance with Newtonian physics – moderated by relativity for Mercury – but by a chaotic mathematical model?”

      No. Geology doesn’t tell us this,
      What you observe from geology is alternating sediments…clay rich and carbonate rich.
      Then you start inferring things.

      The clay rich sediments may indicate a wetter climate, higher stream flow. The carbonate rich sediments may indicate a drier, and possibly cooler, climate.
      What causes these fluctuations in an otherwise fairly stable tectonic environment ?
      This is where the arm wavers come in.
      Do Milankovich precession effects provide enough variation?
      if not, as is apparently suggested, then something else is required.
      Does gravity interplay between Earth and Mars, or Earth and Venus for that matter, provide enough extra wiggles in Earth’s orbit to explain the variation?

      Maybe

      • I agree. There are as many layers of assumptions in the paper and there are layers of sediments in the Colorado formation. What if the sediments were formed quickly, like they were after Mt. St. Helens blew up, but over a much larger scale?

      • I understood that it was the coming and going of a shallow sea that caused these alternating sources for sedimentary layers.

        During the last big ice age of 360 million yrs ago which lasted 60 million yrs, it was the rhythmic retreat and
        return of the sea over flat land that created these alternating shale and limestone sediments.

        Carbonate sediments are of oceanic origin made from calciferous parts of dead organisms that sink to the bottom of shallow seas.
        Clay deposits are from land based sources and create mudflats, marsh and swamp at shore lines.

        During the warmer interstadials global sea levels rose due to the icecaps loosing mass. The shore line in tropical America very slowly moved inland and any vegetation and its peat deposits were submerged to be eventually covered in carbonate sediments.

        During the colder stadials sea levels dropped due to the icecaps gaining mass. The shoreline very slowly retreated and the flat lands and swamps with its vegetation and creation of peat deposits followed the retreat to be eventually covered in clay deposits.

        The accumulation of these sediments from alternating sources with peat layers sandwiched in between grew many layers thick.

        The subsequent pressure and heat on these peat layers produced the coal seams and the cheap energy it
        provides today.

        The alternating type of sediments the authors refer to could simply be a symptom of periodic retreats and advances of the sea without the coal fillings in the sandwich.

    • “Please try and explain how they have derived Chaos in the movement of the planets.”

      Chaos itself doesn’t imply a negative connotation.

      Think of everyday crowded pavements in NY City.

      • I did not mean that chaos had a negative connotation. Just that the planets were so non-chaotic that we were able to create classical physics.
        Others on this thread have said that the 3-body problem can become significant even in the solar system.
        OK. I’ll go with the “maybe”.
        And at least my comment led to a decent discussion.

    • So is this saying that they have observed from geology (!) that planets don’t orbit the Sun in accordance with Newtonian physics – moderated by relativity for Mercury – but by a chaotic mathematical model?

      That’s what it seems to be saying which as you rightly say is senseless.

      What is the case is that Newtonian mechanics if applied correctly lead to chaotic motion.

      And someone realised this and thought they had had a New Thought. Whereas Newton knew it from the start.

    • The N-body problem is chaotic with extreme sensitivity to initial conditions and indeed by positions, masses, and velocities of each body.

      I ran three body simulations (using only Newtonian gravity) with two large bodies and an Earth sized body and differences in any parameter of as little as 0.01% created drastic differences in outcome. In fact when I was using close-in starting orbits, the round off error of double precision variables created some extremely non-physical results.

      For giggles I did one run with a star sized object cruising by from infinity to about 100AU to infinity again (used 10000AU as infinity because I don’t have infinite time – it was only moving 0.1c) on one of the stable configurations I had found and it completely collapsed the system. I never ran it with more than that one 4 body case because it really slowed down the processor and I was trying to test 1000 cases before I had to present it.

      My conclusion: N-body problems are easily perturbable.

    • They measured differences in the character(slate or limestone) and the thickness(and probably isotope ratios and anything else they could measure that might be relevant) of sedimentary layers and found that they did not vary in a stable way. Stable here means repeatable and unchanging . the sediment variations turned out to be not really repeatable and the variations changed with time- hence chaotic.
      It also means that the length of observations has to be long enough that instabilities can show up. A ‘short’ period of observations- one not long enough to capture variations and repeatability, won’t tell you anything useful.
      That’s the problem with climate. Modern science has maybe 40 years of measurement in a system that varies on a near daily basis. The paleo records show some stability over 2-3 million years. This study seems to show that that short period of stability probably isn’t guaranteed.

    • …at the same time the Earth has been gaining mass at the surface.

      Shoemaker did calculations for the in-falling meteorites and space dust some
      years ago.

      • What if the Earth gained significant mass from something like a large nickel iron meteorite impact at some stage in the past – say the Pre Cambrian – that would really scare the (proto) chickens.

  5. This doesn’t seem far fetched to me. Over millennia, gravitational interactions with neighboring planets could change the orbit enough to influence albedo. Similar to the Milankovich cycles. Just wondering.

    • SMC
      All those later Cretaceous SUVs! The clay! The limestone!
      Ohhh, goodness, yes.
      The science is settled.

      Mods – if you think you detected a little /Sarc – you’re wrong. Waaa-aaay off.

      #There was a great big shed-load of /Sarc there!
      And thanks for your work.

      Auto
      But an interesting post. Can periodic perturbations get Mars inside Earth’s orbit? Over billions of years? An interesting though.

      SMC’s earlier comment – “Also, It doesn’t seem like we have anything to worry about anytime soon.” certainly seems apposite.

    • “Where and how much solar radiation a planet gets is a key driver of climate.”

      Everybody knows that is not true. CO2 is the only driver of climate.

  6. Cyclicity in the geologic rock record is nothing new. Recognized from the very early days of the budding geology science the relationship between rhythmic juxtaposition of (In this case) clay/sand with carbonate rich sediments begged for an explanation. Even the earliest geologists hypothesized that it hinted at climate as a driver. Ancient glaciation was often the proposed driver. As research progressed, better investigative tools were devised and this paper is just another in a a long line of improved radiometric studies that continue to refine our understanding of the time periods involved. Although I can only read the abstract and look at the figures, the authors are attempting to correlate solar system effects with the deposition cycles. The Niobrara Formation is a good package of rocks to do this type of a study. Throughout the section are numerous volcanic ash layers (bentonites) that can be radiometrically dated with fairly good resolution (+/- 500,000 to 800,000 yrs or better) that provides a good framework for a higher resolution analysis.

    As an aside, oil & gas geologists have been using these bentionites to help correlate portions of the formation across 100’s of miles. One specific bentionite (called the “X” bentionite) can be correlated from northern New Mexico all the way into the middle part of eastern Wyoming, if not further north.

    • Daniel
      I also don’t see the point in sending anyone to Mars [part of a TV show?] unless you first created an atmosphere there to protect you against the sun’s most harmful rays…

  7. A prominent current theory, widely accepted, is that early in solar system history the outer, gas-giant plants were not located where they are now. Orbital interactions among these planets cause Uranus and Neptune to move outward, thereby disrupting the outer, smaller bodies, flinging them widely into the present Oort cloud. Jupiter and Saturn may even have changed positions relative to the Sun. Jupiter moved inward, and its orbital resonance with the asteroid belt caused many of these objects to be flung inward, bombarding the inner solar system, and producing most very large craters on the Moon.
    How’s that for chaos?

  8. Interesting use of the word ‘chaotic’ here. Especially regarding the Pluto orbit. Perhaps what it really means is that we don’t really know about all the (very) fine points of orbital mechanics, the various celestial bodies equations of motion or even if we know all the masses involved (ie extra solar masses which drift into the Solar influence occasionally). In other words chaos is a word to use when we just don’t know.

    • Please: Chaos is a word with a specific meaning.

      It is the in-computable and imprecise results of exact and precise deterministic relationships.

      It’s what happens when we know exactly what’s going on, but still cant predict where stuff will end up.

      Like balancing a pencil on its point. Fully described by Newtonian mechanics

      You know its gonna fall over and you probably can define a circle inside with it will fall, but to predict exactly where it falls is completely impossible.

      Same goes for thrown dice.

      They are not random, but they might as well be.

  9. Once again, on the face of it, someone is looking for a tiny extrinsic spark that somehow meets up with an intrinsic system to drive large changes (one or two CO2 molecules, a spike in the Sun now and then, solar wind upticks, some sort of barycenter, etc). All of that minutia leads proponents to arguing over how many of “their” fairies are dancing on the head of a pin. Meanwhile the huge liquid elephant in the room goes on about its business roaring around messing things up eating everything in sight or taking up all the couch space fast asleep heating up the house. Sigh.

  10. Chaos explains the lack of understanding of the observed. My apologies to ever said this first, I don’t remember your name.

  11. We have gathered data from sources like the Pioneer space probes which suggest we do not even fully understand how gravity works. Add in countless unknown forces applied as the entire Solar system orbits the Galactic center(s) and any posturing about definitive answers to climate variability becomes suspect.

  12. Some have speculated that when two charged bodies get that close, there could be a spark. Observations in close encounters within the solar system have been supportive.

    Perhaps there’s a book in the offing. (: Use caution though. Some titles on the subject are not available because they have already been used.

  13. Climate change skeptics say that fluctuations in the earth’s climate are caused by variations in the output of the sun. Alarmists respond by stating that variations in solar luminosity and the average solar constant of 1,368 W/m^2 are too small to make much difference. They are both correct and yet both of those explanations are inaccurate and incomplete.

    What both sides forgot to mention is that the earth does not orbit in a nice average circle, but in an ellipse:
    1) closer to the sun at perihelion, 1/4/17, and hotter with a solar non-constant of 1,415 W/m^2,
    2) and farther at aphelion, 7/3/17, and colder with a solar non-constant of 1,323 W/m^2
    3) for a total variation of 92 W/m^2.

    What both sides also forget to mention is that because of the tilted axis and spherical shape the total insolation arriving at the top of the atmosphere fluctuates by around 670 W/m^2. What are the consequences of that large fluctuation? Winter and summer which the earth has survived for thousands of millennia.

    Per IPCC AR5 between 1750 and 2011, 261 years, assuming all natural processes remained constant, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide rose due to human processes, i.e. fossil fuel and land use changes, from 278 ppm to 391 ppm. The consequence to the atmospheric heat balance of 261 years’ worth of additional carbon dioxide was 2 W/m^2. (IPCC AR5 SPM.5)

    If the 92 W/m^2 fluctuation due to orbit and a 670 W/m^2 fluctuation due to tilt and shape have no catastrophic consequences what should we reasonably expect from 2?

    BTW 1,415, 1,323, 92, 670 W/m^2 are real numbers based on real physical parameters, real math, and confirmed by real measurements. IPCC’s 2 W/m^2 is based on a conceptual model such as Kiehl-Trenberth’s power flux graphic diagram, i.e. a ball suspended in a hot fluid, with no consideration of orbit, tilt, night and day, and bearing no resemblance to the actual earth.

    • Climate change skeptics say that fluctuations in the earth’s climate are caused by variations in the output of the sun.

      Not so much. Some folks say that sunspots indirectly influence the intensity of cosmic rays that reach the Earth’s surface thereby changing the clouds which affects the amount of solar radiation that reaches the surface. Pretty much everyone agrees that the solar constant is pretty much constant. :-)

      • Climate change skeptics say that fluctuations in the earth’s climate are caused by variations in the output of the sun.

        Speak for yourself, not for others.

        In the absence of any clear proof, sceptics are sceptical as to whether the sun is a major influence. That is why they are called sceptics.

      • Nicholas Schroeder February 24, 2017 at 8:05 pm

        Is swinging 92 W/m^2 per year “constant?”

        What you said was:

        Climate change skeptics say that fluctuations in the earth’s climate are caused by variations in the output of the sun.

        That statement is wrong. The sun’s output changes very little. The energy received at the top of the atmosphere does change due to the fact that the planet’s orbit is not circular. link

    • Breaking the car to standstill has ‘catastrophic consequences’ to the car’s velocity.

      Again, terms like catastrophe / turning to another state or phase / or chaos don’t mandatory imply a negative connotation.

    • “They are both correct and yet both of those explanations are inaccurate and incomplete”
      One is inaccurate, the other incomplete, no matter which side of the argument you sit.

    • My computations are that solar variance can straight forwardly explain about 1%3 the ~ 0.3% total variation we’ve seen — which is less than 1%4 the variation from peri- to ap- helion .

  14. I think this paper belongs in the Geofantasy waste basket. Just for openers, there are many possible causes of the alternating bedding that have nothing to do with climate or orbital events.

  15. Garbage. The continents were not in the same positions. Plsnts were not on the same evolution. (See chitin and then white fungus during the coal age Pernian).

  16. This cannot be right because CO2 generated from fossil fuels by Mankind is the only cause of climate change.. This is the consensus of 97 percent of scientists that wrote abstracts that John Cook selected as determind by John Cook’s select group of global warming faithfull. Before mankind started using fossil fuels. the Earht’s climate never changed, extreme weather events never happened, there were no droughts or floods anywhere on Earth. Sea level never changed before mankind started using fossif fuels. Their proxy data must be Wrong.

    • Willhaas, are you trying to say that scientists don’t know that climate changed in the past? That’s … inventive.

      • When we are talking about believers in the AGW conjecture we are talking about those few scientists chosen by John Cook’s crew. A very part of the AGW conjectue is that the CO2 generated by Man’s burning of fossil fuel completely controls climate and nothing else matters.

      • That’s just not true Willhaas. ‘Believers’, as you say, have considered the effects of ozone, land-use changes, cloud changes, aerosols and changes of solar output. You’re suggesting scientist haven’t considered these, or that they aren’t aware that Milankovitch cycles (among other things) have drastically changed the Earth’s climate in the past. Suggestions like this make ‘sceptics’ look very silly.

      • i am not saying scientists in general just those very select few scientists selected by John Cook’s crew. A very important part of the AGW conjecture is that the CO2 added to the atmosphere by mankind burning fossil fuels is what controls climate. Nothing else matters. According to those that believe in CO2 induced climate change, all we have to do is stop burning fossil fuels and Mother Nature will see to it that everyione everywhere and for all time will experience optimum climate and extreme weather events including floods and drought will completely disappear for ever and the sea level everywhere will never change. I myself would like to use the AGW conjecture as another reason to conserve on the use of fossil fuels but scientifically the AGW conjecture is just too full of holes and I cannot defend it.

      • “According to those that believe in CO2 induced climate change, all we have to do is stop burning fossil fuels and Mother Nature will see to it that everyione everywhere and for all time will experience optimum climate and extreme weather events including floods and drought will completely disappear for ever and the sea level everywhere will never change.”

        There you go again… like I said, it makes you look silly.

  17. The title of the paper, “Theory of chaotic orbital variations confirmed by Cretaceous geological evidence”, overstates its case. Perhaps “confirmed” should be replaced by “supported”. The inescapable fact is that the system is highly non-linear. The magnitude of the gravitational influence of one body upon another does not follow Hooke’s Law. As a result the accumulated effect of a pair of bodies upon each other’s orbits may be either stabilizing or destabilizing.
    This study only covers about 90 My of interactions, barely more than 2% of the life of the solar system. In that same period a large number of planetary orbit resonances and near-resonances have developed to stabilize rather than destabilize orbits. The near-resonances are often discounted (by calling them ‘coincidences’) as they are not ‘perfect’ resonances, yet over very long period these resonances themselves are periodic. For example, the earth-venus near resonance is off by 1.5° every 8 orbits of Venus, but that means that after about 120 cycles (972 years) it will return to its original configuration almost exactly. I would describe this as ‘quasi-periodic’ rather than as ‘chaotic’ behavior.
    Earth-venus alignments occur in series, similar to the series in the Saros used for calculating solar and lunar eclipses. These orbital resonance resonance series can continue to repeat for thousands of years. The repeatability of the orbits, despite the ‘imperfect’ resonances, allows the calculation of transits over spans of over 250,000 years.
    After over 4 billion years of accumulated interactions, the orbits have become stabilized rather than destabilized. ‘Stability’ does not require perfect periodicity. It merely requires orbits in which accumulated perturbations can be ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ in the sense that the perturbations cancel each other out before they can develop into an overwhelming disturbance.
    Hardly ‘chaotic’.
    Geologists do their own jobs quite well, but few have the mathematical expertise to understand multivariate non-linear systems or the comprehensive understanding of celestial mechanics to drive this idea home.

    • “Geologists do their own jobs quite well, but few have the mathematical expertise to understand multivariate non-linear systems or the comprehensive understanding of celestial mechanics to drive this idea home.”

      Sailors can’t cook?

      • “Sailors can’t cook?”

        Quite likely, or not many of them.

        A geologist who has the mathematical expertise to understand multivariate non-linear systems or a comprehensive understanding of celestial mechanics is not a geologist but a geomathematician of some variety.
        Someone who has spent long periods in the field, engaged in empirical science, will not have had the time or luxury to develop such expertise.
        There’s only so much you can do in one lifetime.
        That’s not to suggest that geologists can’t add, subtract, multiply or divide. Some do have advanced maths capabilities..
        Nevertheless someone with a “comprehensive understanding of celestial mechanics” is usually called an astronomer or astrophysicist.

    • DO NOT google ‘strange attractor’.

      No not read Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

      You might not be able to sleep at might. How much better to understand that just because things always worked out before, they always will..

      Stability in systems that are non linear and complex, is restricted to a very very few cases. Quasi stability, in which things appear stable for long periods, before undergoing periods of marked change, is very much more common.

  18. Taboos, censorship, prohibitions of thought sometimes need authority in real life.

    In science they are ‘catastrophic’.

    • People like Goodyear and A. Wegener first need civil courage.

      Beauty surgeons and climatologists need advertising professionals.

  19. “The Old Man February 24, 2017 at 6:33 pm
    I recently put a practical observation made by some Inuit hunters from the NWT (Nunavut) on my site, simply because I’ve been out on the land with some of these guys in the past and know their practical understanding of their high arctic environment. Not sure why they came to that conclusion, other than they did. I just found it an interesting observation. Would that mean that the South pole gets the opposite effect?”

    The 2004 Indonesian and 2010 Chilean Earthquakes and Earth’s Rotation

    https://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/PLATETEC/RotationQk2004.HTM

  20. “Madison and Northwestern University has found evidence confirming a critical theory of how the planets in our solar system behave in their orbits around the sun.”

    it confirms no such thing.

    Michael Steinbacher was not your typical rock hound. I suggest looking at his stuff online.
    Much of what he claims can be reproduced in experiments. Plus there is so much concerning our geology that geologists scratch their heads over. If you are intent on seeing it all through established dogma then you can’t be helped.

    Does it not beg a question when all the crater impacts we see seem to be at exactly 90 degree angles to the surface, dead on hits. Where are all the scraping impacts because there should be more, far more, in fact there should be more scraping impacts than direct impacts statistically speaking.

    Moon

    Hyperion

    They are not craters.

    Much better images of Hyperion jere
    https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_749.html

    Anyone who thinks this is geological, caused by water, or asteroids is smoking too much whacky tobaccy
    Lovely shot of Valles Marineris.

    • Clearly something gouged out Valles Marineris. It’s patently obvious if you are not intent on looking at it through a dogmatic geological eye.

      • Clearly something expanded and split the crust and created Valles Marineris. Just like bread cooking It’s patently obvious if you are not intent on looking at it through a dogmatic geological eye.

      • To me it is obvious that it has been formed by sliding and slumping. Just look at all those colluvial fans on the bottom. Probably due to volcanic meltout of deep permafrost. You can see very similar landscapes (on a smaller scale) in the ‘edoma’ areas in Siberia.

    • We have no idea how much of earth was stripped away millions or billions of years ago. It is entirely possible that it was earth that was interacting with Mars to cause this.

      We know bodies will reach to each other at proximity.

      Planetary bodies interact, Saturn and its moons interact via perturbations in the magnetic field and flowing plasma.

      That’s with just moons, put Mars and earth in close proximity and the event would be cataclysmic, they would strip chunks off each other.

      • An esteemed colleague named John Elliston has a book in publication right now that introduces a complete new view of petrogenesis through colloidal processes. He lists a number of serious questions about granite textures, for example, asking why a molten state must be an assumed precursir when a colloidal state is more plausible a link to observed textures.
        I mention this in the broader context of geology not being a settled science by any means. We used to hold corporate seminars with 20 to 50 good geologists debating basic questions, commonly finding more answers than there were geologists present.
        Do keep an eye out for John’s book. It has endured the process of rejection by the Establishment and will strike a chord with sceptics whose ideas were challenged. Could have similar impact to Wegener with Plate Tectonics.
        Geoff

    • That was an EU video. I think the have some better explanations for stuff but they are short on a lot of science to back it up.

      Here is the actual experiment video.

      • Impact crater are normally round regardless of angle of impact:

        “At the moment an asteroid collides with a planet, there is an explosive release of the asteroid’s huge kinetic energy. The energy is very abruptly deposited at what amounts to a single point in the planet’s crust. This sudden, focused release resembles more than anything else the detonation of an extremely powerful bomb. As in the case of a bomb explosion, the shape of the resulting crater is round: ejecta is thrown equally in all directions regardless of the direction from which the bomb may have arrived.
        “This behavior may seem at odds with our daily experience of throwing rocks into a sandbox or mud, because in those cases the shape and size of the ‘crater’ is dominated by the physical dimensions of the rigid impactor. In the case of astronomical impacts, though, the physical shape and direction of approach of the meteorite is insignificant compared with the tremendous kinetic energy that it carries.
        “An exception to this rule occurs only if the impact occurs at an extremely shallow, grazing angle. If the angle of impact is quite close to horizontal, the bottom, middle and top parts of the impacting asteroid will strike the surface at separate points spread out along a line. In this case, instead of the energy being deposited at a point, it will be released in an elongated zone–as if our ‘bomb’ had the shape of a long rod.
        “Hence, a crater will end up having an elongated or elliptical appearance only if the angle of impact is so shallow that different parts of the impactor strike the surface over a range of distances that is appreciable in comparison with the final size of the crater as a whole. Because the final crater may be as much as 100 times greater than the diameter of the impactor, this requires an impact at an angle of no more than a few degrees from horizontal.

        For this reason, the vast majority of impacts produce round or nearly round craters, just as is observed.”

        https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-are-impact-craters-al/

      • It’s amazing that this gets ignored, not the video but the experiment. It’s creating geological features we see all over the world, so how do we know this process didn’t create those lime mountains, lime and clay is used in this experiment

      • Mark
        What is creating the geological patterns is nonlinear pattern formation, not magnetism. Chaotic nonlinear emergent patterns are somewhat independent of physical context. The ghost in the machine. Totally different physical systems can show the same patterns due to the same chaotic pattern forming process.

    • Mark, wrt crater shapes, I read an experimental research paper somewhere that when impacts are at velocities greater than the speed of sound in the medium (supersonic), the resulting shock front creates roughly circular craters, even for glancing impacts as little as 15 degrees!

    • Mark, you might appreciate this simple experiment that creates craters with raised peaks. (Jump to about minute 5.) It is quite in keeping with the EU concept of craters formed by electrical discharge.

  21. What a surprise when way back half a century ago engineers and historians both independently pointed out cycles in climate that coincidentally or otherwise matched lunar and earth orbit and the occurrence of the supermoon. so other planetary cycles should have been a given.

    • Richard Nolle, an astrologer, coined the term “supermoon” merely thirty years ago. He was concerned with affects of the moon upon human personality.

      SR

  22. Exactly how can radioisotope dating methods determine the dates of deposition of the layers? At best, all that could be determined is the theoretical age of the clay bed from which the clay in the layers was sourced. Every layer, from top to bottom, would test at the same age.

    SR


    • Stevan Reddish on February 24, 2017 at 11:29 pm

      Exactly how can radioisotope dating methods determine the dates of deposition of the layers? At best, all that could be determined is the theoretical age of the clay bed from which the clay in the layers was sourced. Every layer, from top to bottom, would test at the same age.”
      ___________________________________________

      Fantastique. What’s your scientific solution, the proposal no one can refuse.

      • GM,
        Refer to the time of formation of the mineral. Use U/Pb method if you wish. The assumption is made that only U and none of its decay products are incorporated at genesis. Alternatively, that decay products there at the start are by comparison short lived and soon leave the equation. So a complete refresh or rest happens. This might be the source of unease expressed above. I have never been comfortable with these assumptions. Have actually been involved in a lot of isotope dating of rocks. But this comment might just express my incomplete understanding.
        Geoff

    • Good point Stevan, that is one of the first doubts I had about this. Radio dating is often based on some very simplistic and dubious assumptions which are not even stated.

      • Greg,

        Which assumptions do you find simplistic and dubious? The underlying assumption of radiometric dating is that radioactive decay has always occurred at the same rate. Do you have reason to doubt that?

        Scientists are well aware of the procedures required to ensure reliable dating.

        Stevan,

        Radioactive dating is used to date rocks, carbon or other materials in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed. The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay (assumed to be unchanged for at least the past five billion years). It is now the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, among other natural substances and man-made materials.

        Together with stratigraphic principles, radiometric dating methods are used in geochronology to establish the geological time scale. Different isotopic decay series can determine ages on shorter or longer periods and different materials. Among the best-known techniques are radiocarbon, potassium-argon and uranium-lead dating. By establishing geological timescales, radiometric data provides a significant source of information about the ages of fossils and the deduced rates of evolutionary change. It is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.

      • Gloateus Maximus February 25, 2017 at 7:39 am

        GM, your response does not address my question at all. I did not ask by what method and with what assumptions an estimate of the age of a mineral deposit is made. I asked if a mineral is subsequently transported by water runoff from the original location to another location, how can radioisotopes be used to determine the date of the relocation? Moving clay around does not change its age.

        Also, on a related note, carbon dating does not work for calculating ages greater than even 100,000 years due too the short half life of C14. I do not think you understand the irrelevancy of of your answer.

        SR

  23. They’re just half-awake and have latched onto a lot of the current buzz-words – chaos, resonance, non-linear and haven’t any real idea what those words mean.

    A chaotic system is not going to produce nice layers of rock – there’s a pattern there. Chaos don’t do that, that’s why its called chaos?
    If a system enters resonance, it stays there, that what resonance is, Depending on the damping factor it will remain resonating or destroy itself. Tacoma Narrows?
    Resonance and chaos are mutually exclusive and wtf is a ‘resonance transition’ if not another way of saying ‘tipping point’

    If they cannot introduce their paper without using muddled junk like that, its just more noise and catfishing.

      • Well Chaos theory is not actually a theory.

        Its a name given to a bunch of effects that are emergent properties of the solutions to superposed non-linear differential equations.

        Like sensitivity to initial conditions and computational precision, and the need to use massive amounts of computing power to arrive at a vet poor solution, due to there being no way to solve them other than an infinite series of equations. Calculus doesn’t work the way it does for linear equations or for single non linear ones.

      • Patrick,

        The heliocentric theory, the theory of gravity, the oxygen theory of combustion, the atomic theory of matter, the theory of evolution, the germ theory of disease, relativity, quantum mechanics and the Big Bang are also theories, ie well-supported explanations for experiments on and observations of nature.

        The word doesn’t mean the same thing in science as in common parlance.

  24. From the 18th century, the dominant view of the solar system was that the planets orbited the sun like clockwork, having quasiperiodic and highly predictable orbits. In 1988, however, numerical calculations of the outer planets showed Pluto’s orbit to be “chaotic” and the idea of a chaotic solar system was proposed in 1989 by astronomer Jacques Laskar, now at the Paris Observatory.

    Following Laskar’s proposal of a chaotic solar system, scientists have been looking in earnest for definitive evidence that would support the idea, says Meyers.

    “Other studies have suggested the presence of chaos based on geologic data,” says Meyers. “But this is the first unambiguous evidence, made possible by the availability of high-quality, radioisotopic dates and the strong astronomical signal preserved in the rocks.”

    With respect this is seriously naively expressed and very misleading. Right from the start of Newtonian physics the ‘three body’ (or many body) problem of physics was known and understood. It is clear for anyone studying mechanics that the periodic nature of the planets’ orbits was only an approximation, and that the true situation was not amenable to the analytical tools of the time, and even today, it’s not an easy task, requiring many hours of computation, because the only tools we have for chaos are ‘brute force’ ones.

    And that is in fact the case for any law that is expressed as a non liner series of partial time derivatives.

    If someone ‘proposed’ a chaotic solar system it can only be because they were ignorant of the fact that if Newton is correct, we have always had a chaotic solar system. Like the ‘Gaia’ theory this actually says nothing new, merely looks at some of the implications of what was already known.

    Years ago I wrote a computer model of random solar systems. The only ones that remain quasi stable are those where a large central mass is orbited by smaller masses in more or less circular orbits in more or less a single plane.

    I.e. that have approximatively periodic orbits that are more or less circular. Anything that is not, gets thrown out of the solar system of choice,

    WE ran the code with random input data. Most simulations ended with an empty screen as most of the participants violently ejected each other. Now and again a random combination would stabilise, but it always did so in an approximately solar system like configuration. Because that is the only approximately stable one there is.

    What is my point? Firstly that this is not news, and nothing has been added to old theory. All that is news is that geologists have found some more evidence for something we always knew.

    AS for catastrophic interactions between planets, I suggest a read of ‘planets in collision’ by Immanuel Velikovsky, a forerunner of the tinfoil hat movement, whose books nevertheless may actually contain a grain of truth.

    What hasn’t been done is to wind a planetarium style clock back a few millennia to see whether or not Velikovsky’s ideas have any credence at all. When he wrote the books, we didn’t have the computing power. Perhaps today we do.

    Modelling planetary orbits for a million years is a snap compared with forecasting next weeks weather.

  25. I know they have to mention climate change to get funding for their study but the moment I see it in their results I disbelieve their science. I can’t help myself. It’s sad but what do you do?

  26. Count me as extremely unconvinced. You can’t extract statistically significant proof of a “resonance shift” from four-and-a-half very noisy cycles. Furthermore it is known from biostratigraphy that there are multiple disconformities (periods of non-deposition) in the Niobrara formation.
    However they claim that these must have been short, because otherwise the data wouldn’t fit their theory. This must be one of the most beautiful cases of circular reasoning I’ve ever seen in a scientific paper.

  27. never mind this study – I am not very impressed by it –
    there have been several people, including myself, who have found that the alignment of Saturn and Uranus can be directly linked to the Gleissberg [solar] cycle of 87 years. If there is an anomaly on this, e.g. due to the influence of Jupiter, it could mean that we miss a connection [it works like an electrical switch, every 43 years]
    hence there have been periods like the little ice age and the medeviel warm period.
    There have been other people here on wuwt who have made links on the movement of the inner planets to the Schwabe solar cycle of 11 years.
    In fact, seems to me everything in energy we get from the sun revolves around the position of the bary center of the solar system. [note that like a magnetic stirrer, earth’s inner core also moves in line with same movement of the solar’s system bary center]

    hence true, enough, my finding also is that the weather on earth depends a lot on the positions of the planets.

    • And you have the hide to accuse others of pseudo-science. This is astrology.
      “the weather…depends a lot on the position of the planets”.

      • tony,
        I did my own investigations, into the positions of Saturn and Uranus,

        to verify those very same observations of William Arnold, who, back in 1985, before they started with the CO2 nonsense, already determined a 100 year weather cycle, which we have now come to know as the Gleissberg cycle on the sun [with some delays either way on earth]
        Anyway, even Moses knew about the weather moving back to median every “49” years, [Jubilee year]. It is like a sine wave, every 43 years moving back to zero.

        Here you can see the half of a GB cycle [I clearly determined there is no CO2 warming as it should affect minima]

        [graph established in early 2015]

      • Earth’s tides are chaotic and cannot be solved from first principles. Instead we use Astrology to calculate the tide very accurately for years in advance. Astrology gets a bad rep when used to predict human behavior. Astrology shows us that there is an alternative way to solve problems that are beyond the capabilities of current mathematics.

  28. Cannot remember who it was now, but there was someone here who thought we should rather read the Koran than this mumbo jumbo ‘scientific’ investigations.
    In that case I would rather recommend the Bible. Jesus says that you will never know which way the wind [weather] will blow and indeed I have already identified too many variables. He also predicts that precisely in the few years before the end of the world the days will become shorter. It is something that I must still think about, but it seems it implies a celestial body interfering with the rotation speed of earth. In another part of the bible this star [body] is referred to as ‘Alsem’ , meaning it will leave us all with a bitter taste.
    Now before you call me a doom prophet: I don’t know when this will happen, but you honestly were not thinking that earth will exist forever and ever? We came by ‘chaos’ and we will die by chaos.

    Makes you think, does it not?

  29. Tectonics & tectonics
    This is one of my longest comments, perhaps worth ignoring, but if you persevere you might get an insight of why Milankovic cycles sometimes work and others do not. Consider it as a rambling abstract to a paper I might never complete.
    Tectonics & tectonics

    The grey area is the Greenland-Scotland ridge, average depth around 300m except for the Denmark Strait (~600m) and Faroes Bank Channel (~800m).
    The ridge is rising due to the postglacial isostatic uplift, and in doing so it is more and more obstructing the cold dense sea floor currents outflow from the Arctic basin. Reduced outflow means reduced warm surface water inflow and steady cooling, as it has been the case during the last 7-8 ky.
    Since the ocean level rising (due to the ice melting) is slowing down to a standstill, another thousand or two of years of the uplift, the Arctic will again start its refreezing sequence, result: a new Ice Age. Polar jet stream at this stage would be extremely strong and circular with very little or no meandering.
    After 40 or more ky of the ice build up, when the weight of the ice in the north Canada, Greenland and Scandinavia has sufficiently deformed the Earth’s crust along the Middle Atlantic Ridge (boundary between N. American and Eurasian tectonic plates) the Iceland’s volcanoes will go off with a ‘bang’ (occasionally triggered by Milancovic cycles planetary tidal pull).
    At the end of the last ice age magma flow was more than 100 times current rate, with the Iceland’s volcanoes ejecting into atmosphere huge volumes of ash/tephra, spreading across whole of the Arctic region by strong polar jet stream.

    btw. Iceland’s volcanoes are the world’s most productive, currently about 5% of world activity with 30% of total ejected mass.
    Sudden reduction in the albedo, due to accumulation of the ash/tephra on the ice, initiates fast melting, the obstruction by the G-S ridge is suddenly reduced by the fast rising sea level (outpacing the G – S ridge’s postglacial uplift) allowing rapid increase in the cold currents outflow and consequently equally rapid move of the warm surface currents further north into the Arctic ocean, result: interglacial or the sudden end to the Ice Age.
    However, slow but steady postglacial isostatic moving of the G-S ridge upwards will again cause the slow but steady cooling and increase the ice accumulation.
    Are these (glacial/interglacial) cycles are going to go for ever? No.
    Iceland is growing larger and the warm periods’ Greenland’s glaciers are silting Denmark Strait, currently the deposit is up to 1km deep and only 600m below surface. As it happens the most of the Arctic outflow is via DS, just below 50% of the total, see the illustration above. With another 300m of silt, the cold outflow will be reduced to the level where the volume of the replacing warm waters has no sufficient melting effect on the Arctic ice, blocking onset of some future interglacial.

    • Interesting! Thanks. I just realized again: the more you study a certain science, the more you realize how much there still is that you don’t know…

      • Along with Nikola Tesla, Milankovic is the greatest scientist of the Serbian origin, and however much I would like for his theory to be indisputable, that is not the case. I myself have some doubt that ~ 2% of change in the insolatoin is sufficient to get the earth in and out of an ice age. On the other hand if the planetary gravitational pull can tilt the earth’s axis of rotation, it just might be possible for Milankovic cycles to trigger onset of a major tectonic event if it happened to be at or near critical point. If so, the Milankovic cycles may be only responsible for synchronising the start, but have no effect whatsoever on ending of the interglacials.

      • I agree. It is not only insolation. It is also the position of earth’s inner core. As evident from my own results.
        [no warming of the SH over the past 40 years compared to warming of ca. 0.02K / annum of the NH]
        Must be the movement of the core more north [east] as evident from the change in the position of the magnetic north pole over the past 50-100 years.

    • Interesting theory. I also believe the oceans are somehow the mechanism for sudden warming and cooling phases. Isostatic compression/rebound is a logical trigger for ocean current changes. So what you are suggesting is AGW monies should be redirected to dredging the Denmark Straight ;)

      • Alternatively, a more efficient way would be to blow one of the two of the narrow strips in the Wyville Thomson Ridge (WTR dotted arrow ). About 100 hydrogen nukes, one blown every 10 years during the current millennium, might do the job.

    • “The ridge is rising due to the postglacial isostatic uplift”

      Not the part around Iceland. Iceland is quite peculiar since the postglacial isostatic uplift there only took about two thousand years and then ended, probably due to the upper mantle having low viscosity. So Iceland is already isostatically compensated.

      • From NASA:
        “Greenland’s uplift from postglacial rebound means the island is gaining mass from below and its bedrock is continuously rising. At the same time, it is losing mass from above as its ice melts. GRACE measures the net result of these opposing processes, not just the result of melting ice alone. A National Science Foundation- and NASA-funded program called the Greenland GPS Network is working to overcome this problem.”
        https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/glacial-rebound-the-not-so-solid-earth
        60% of Denmark Strait is part of Greenland’s bedrock and follows its uplift, while the Wyville Thomson Ridge (closing narrow Faroes channel) is part of the Scotland’s shelf, which also has similar uplift.

      • At the bottom of Denmark Strait is the cold Arctic overflow current (DSOW) which is on the Greenland’s bedrock side (with the uplift) while on the shallow Iceland’s shelf is the inflowing warm Atlantic current (AW).

        There is also East Greenland (cold) surface current generated by fresh river waters flowing into Arctic as well as the sea ice summer melt. However, during the ice ages this current might disappear (freeze) since it is on the surface and of much lower salinity.

    • I love this.
      Ties in with my comment from way back about stadials and interstadials causing the alternating land then sea derived sediments in discussion.

  30. On a related topic – this article refers to resonances between the precession of the Perihelion of the Earth’s and Mars’ orbit and the precession of the nodes of the orbit of the Earth and Mars. These type of resonances are not all that uncommon in the solar system.

    For example – the heliocentric latitude of Venus (i.e. angle above or below the plane of the Ecliptic as seen from the Sun) is beautifully linked in resonance to the mean distance of Jupiter from the Sun – provided that they are observed at intervals of 11 year intervals set by the alignment cycles of Venus, the Earth and Jupiter.

    http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com.au/2010/10/recent-grand-minima-in-level-of-solar.html

  31. Earth’s orbit is the lowest energy path around the sun. The other planets alter the energy off this path which alters Earth’s orbit. This change is maximum at resonance and minimum in near resonance. Thus we see small moons sheparding Saturn’s rings and we see Venus turn the same face to earth at closest approach. It should not surprise us that our climate cycles are locked to planetary orbits.

  32. Likewise, The precession of the lunar line-of-apse and the lunar line-of-nodes – which are the lunar equivalents of the precession of the Perihelion of the Earth’s and Mars’ orbit and the precession of the nodes of the orbit of the Earth and Mars, are also affected by the relative orbital positions of the Jovian planets, when integrated over tens of millions of years. Note that the position of the centre-of-mass (or Barycentre) of the solar system compared to the centre of the Sun is a proxy for the relative positions of the Jovian planets.

    http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com.au/2010/03/synchronization-between-solar-inertial.html

  33. It is a bit contradicting that they point to chaos, and anyway think they can calculate what happened or would happen. The most they can say is that it might change somehow.

  34. It’s come to this. We’re actually looking under rocks to come up with plausible explanations for changing climate! Surprised Cat is surprised.

  35. Niobara Fm. hosts significant oil shales. Maybe an exploration tool this theory.

    I think considering only Mars too narrow an idea. The entire solar system travels relatively to the galactic arm it is contained in. We encounter other gravitational tugs on this journey and attract bolides as well. Maybe Meyers et al have too clockworky a view even in their theory.

  36. As a geologist I indeed do not have extensive knowledge of ‘multivariate non-linear systems or a comprehensive understanding of celestial mechanics’ as mentioned above. But I can’t help but wonder if, for those who do have those skills, if this might not be a highly evolved version of ‘if your tool is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.’ The reason I say that is because geologists have been looking at the extensive rhythmic and repetitive sedimentary deposits around the world, comparing them to the ongoing sedimentation processes they see happening around them in real time, and finding them entirely consistent. Because of their economic significance sediments and sedimentary processes are extensively studied. If the processes we observe were inadequate to explain these deposits that inadequacy certainly should have been exposed long before now. With many years of geology and oil and gas industry experience (now retired) I’ve never heard of the need to go outside the earth to explain these deposits. I’m not closed-minded to a new idea, but I’d like to see something more than two things that both happen to be cyclical.

    • In this link is a photograph from a place called Smokovac in Montenegro (north Mediterranean) , not far from the place I was born. It shows newest top rock formation from the sea floor, now rotated by 90 degrees in vertical position; it clearly shows layering of different strata that might have taken millions of years to form. However, the bottom older rocks are inclined at about 30 degrees.
      I’m assuming that the top part belonged to a different tectonic plate, riding over subducting plate in the bottom section.
      What might be your interpretation of this strange arrangement?

      • A simple explanation is that the newest rocks (A) and oldest rocks(B) were subject to different tectonic events. B was deposited , at some point the formation was tilted/rotated to 60deg. An unconformity would have created a planar surface for newer sediments A (whenever sedimentation resumed). After X time the entire package of rocks, A&B, were rotated to the vertical position. Of course it is more complicated than that. The point is that one area could be subject to vastly different tectonic events.

    • If the processes we observe were inadequate to explain these deposits that inadequacy certainly should have been exposed long before now. With many years of geology and oil and gas industry experience (now retired) I’ve never heard of the need to go outside the earth to explain these deposits.

      Well of course what is your definition of ‘outside the earth’ ???

      Since all of geology is affected by the sun, in terms of it being the driving engine of the water erosion and deposition cycles, how can you say that you dont need to go ‘outside the earth’??

      Surely you are not asserting that climate change has not affected what types of rock are deposited?

      If climate change itself has a ’cause’ outside of the earth, then that too is a statement that refutes the ‘no need’ to go outside the earth’?

      Or did you misunderstand the (rather muddled) point of the article: Namely that geological climate change obviously exists, and may well have been (partly) driven by climate change, and the cycles seen in it – the geology or the climate change – are not inconsistent with quasi-periodic changes in celestial orbits.

  37. Look at the surface of the moon. No erosion to obscure history.

    The earth has weathered many more impactors yet climate is stable enough for evolution? Impactors alter atmosphere and orbit. Impactors expose fresh mineral faces which increases erosion.

    Planetary geology is where you need to look.

  38. Poor old Milankovitch must be rolling in his grave. It’s one thing to explain recent geology through astronomy–which Milankovitch did quite nicely. Quite another to do it backwards and infer planetary behavior from ancient geology. And whenever I hear someone say total insolation varies only slightly, or that they have to “tune” the data to get a fit, I can’t even roll my eyes.

    For the thousandth time, insolation at 50 degrees north latitude varies by a max of 100W per meter squared, while all you need is an average of 3W per meter to melt a km of ice in 10ky. And “tuning” is what enables the eyeball to easily recognize the continents on an ancient map when they are deformed to the extent that R is near zero.

    And these crackpots “discovered the 87 million-year-old signature of a ‘resonance transition’ between Mars and Earth”? Goes to show how bad it can get when the arbitration is loaded with climate quacks. –AGF

  39. Light is beginning to dawn. The word “chaos” is starting to creep into more areas of the climate discussion despite the innate predjudice against it in many scientific disciplines.

    Even planetary orbits chaotic? Fortress linear never looked less secure.

    • Linear is a special and localised and limited form of the chaotic. As the size of your universe tends to zero, all rules governing in tend to linear.

      Small islands of quasi stability adrift in a storm tossed sea of chaos.

  40. The Milankovich forced glacial-interglacial oscillation is an example of a periodically forced nonlinear oscillator. Such systems were first identified and studied by Mary Cartwright of Oxford University in the 1940s in the context of wartime research into radar and electronic noise. Her work on this was largely forgotten then later re-“discovered” by others.

    External periodic forcing of a nonlinear oscillator – such as the classic Belousov-Zhabotinsky chemical oscillator – can be either strong or weak. If glacial Milankovich forcing was strong, then the cycle would be a simple monotonic reflection of the dominant forcer e.g. obliquity or precession. But weak forcing means that the system’s internal oscillations are as strong or stronger than the external forcing. Here it gets much more messy. The emergent oscillation can be complex such that the periodicity of the weak forcer is hard to recognise. Such is the nature of the Milankovich glacial phenomenon – it’s a weakly periodically forced nonlinear oscillator.

    • Interesting analysis. In my comments further above I have considered possibility of the Milankovic cycles not being direct cause but acting as synchronising trigger inputs into a self sustaining oscillating system. Further complication I see here is that the Milankovic cycles are strictly periodic, while the interglacial oscillations internal time ‘constant’, is not a constant at all but a variable driven by the geological evolution in the area I considered.

      • vukcevic: I find your viewpoint very interesting, but -0 and heres the rub, just as limiting as those who say ‘its all due to X, Y or even Z’

        The reality is that I suspect its extremely likely that everything affects climate, and more than one thing affect it hugely.

        Now this is an area I cant seem to pin any mathematicians down on, and that is just how many variables of a chaotic equation are needed to drive a system the way climate historically seems to have been driven.

        But I strongly suspect its more than just one.

      • Hi Mr. Smith
        Not being any kind of expert, or particularly knowledgeable on the subject, just an exercise in rational thinking, as far as I see it, climate is a regional thing. Every region has one or two major and masses of the minor factors . The major factors persist while the lesser ones, even if temporarily could dominate, they eventually taper off. Any attempt to define a global trend most likely is a task doomed to failure.

      • Vukcevich, Leo Smith
        Thanks for your comments. Indeed “triggering” or “pacing” are other ways of describing a weak periodic forcing.
        Leo – of course very many things will affect climate and the oceanic circulation modes that drive major climate change. However a chaotic outcome does not I believe require multiple inputs; just one or two will do it if they are weak relative to the system’s internal resonance-enhanced oscillations. One published example is the chaotic tidal oscillations that can arise when the lunar tidal forcing is funelled through a narrow inlet to a bay – the resonances and bay topography combine to change the tidal pattern to either a more complex form of the forcing frequency or a chaotic oscillation:

        http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/41591594

        Of course the analogy to ice age oscillation is very distant, but the point here is how an external periodic forcing which is completely regular but is attenuated can give rise to chaotic dynamics in the forced system to the extent that the forcing (lunar tidal) time signature may become unrecognisable.

  41. let us just put up the variables we know of [feel free to add variables that could affect the weather.]
    1) We have varying input due to energy coming from the sun, i.e. various solar cycles, mainly 11, 22 and 87 years.
    2) It is not only total E coming in varying here, allegedly only by about 0.1%, there is also a variation in the wavelengths of E: The lower the magnetic field strength, the more energetic particles can leave the sun, the more ozone, N-O and peroxides are produced TOA, the less UV is allowed through the atmosphere. So we must look at measuring UV coming in at a daily basis as this affects the amount of heat going into the oceans.
    3) the strengths of the solar cycles are pre-determined by the position of the barycenter of the whole solar system….which includes the position and movement of the planets.
    4) earth inner core is moving, and as it happened, it moved a lot more north, going by the shift in the magnetic north pole. Hence we see the ice on the north pole decreasing; the rise in the T over the past 40 years according to my measurement was 0.02K/annum in Nh and 0.00K/annum in the Sh….this is a local affect wrongfully blamed on CO2 warming.
    5) we have the lunar tides which affect the amount of mixing of the much deeper and much cooler waters with the top layers, and this affects the evaporation rate in general: the more mixing of the top with the bottom layers the less water vapor is produced? I am asking.
    6) we have varying amounts of volcanic activity, and again, just like the Lunar tides, this could affect the T of the sea waters where this activity happens.
    7) human activities, especially nuclear, which are warming the waters and rivers, could also affect the total evaporation rate of water on earth.
    [but I think not so much]
    8) burning of fossil fuel / H2/ could also warm the atmosphere to some extent, [but I think not so much]

  42. Meyer’s thesis is not a new discovery but its good to see the idea reinvigorated. Geologists before him called the cyclicality or cyclic nature of sedimentary rocks, cycles, cyclothems. This has been documented in geology textbooks on sedimentation since I attended in the 1960s.Peter Vail of Exxon, doing work in Indonesia noted a worldwide cyclic nature of sedimentation again and documents this in publication, in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin in the 1980s-1990s.

    • And I might add from my own experience witnessed during investigations of the rock strata from geological prospecting in the US Rocky Mountains: 1. rock strata in the Ordovician Red River Formation of North and South Dakota record nearly identical repeating sequences of dolomite-limestone-anhydrite-black shale “rhythms” with total thickness of 30 to 40 feet that record “shallowing” and then “deepening” of oceans from deposits of near-shore deposits; 2. rock strata of the Mississippian Mission Canyon Formation of North Dakota and the Permo-Pennsylvanian Minnelusa Formation of Wyoming to South Dakota record the same repeatable sequences, 30 to 40 feet in thickness that record sequences of black shale, anhydrite, limestone and dolomite that first exhibit “shallowing” and then reverse to record “deepening” of the near-shore deposits as the rocks reveal conditions that we can relate to these for repeating environments today as supratidal (above sea level) to peritidal, to open marine to restricted marine . The rock sequences are so predictable that geologists, including myself, use these as “models” to predict, find and discover and then produce previously unknown, and undiscovered deposits of oil and natural gas.

  43. “Seaway” does not mean “shallow ocean.” When a paper starts off with such a clinker I am immediately dubious. Having passed DiffEQ, when insults to geologists immediately follow I am even more dubious. This article is a crock.

    This thread is bizarre, some people have too much time on their hands, clearly…

    • Yet the WIS was a shallow ocean, ie an epicontinental sea, like the East and South China Seas or North Sea today.

      • Life and death in the dangerous WIS: mosasaur v. young pliosaur, from the great Oceans of Kansas site. Mosasaurs evolved from land lizards remarkably rapidly, perhaps aided by demise of the ichthyosaurs.

        Sharks circle dead hadrosaur washed out to sea:

    • Michael
      thanks so much for that comment. I am over the moon with it [as it contributes to what exactly?].
      Perhaps you just could give us your pass rate as well for the DiffEQ
      that would help us evaluating your IQ

  44. The presence of our moon is proving to be essential to maintaining a magnetic field and essential to holding a sustainable atmosphere for life to exist or ever begin through natural causes. A person has to question the idea of chaotic.

    • Bailin,

      You’ve got the magnetotail wagging the dog, so to speak. Once a month, earth’s magnetic tail raises dust storms and causes electrostatic discharges on the moon, but the weak magnetic field of our satellite has little to no effect on our planet, unless I’m mistaken.

      Nor does the moon account for our air. Venus has an atmosphere on the order of 100 times denser than ours, without benefit of a big satellite.

      Our unique moon has plenty of effects on earth but those you suggest aren’t among them.

  45. This underscores the pitfalls of making assumptions. For centuries, it has been simply assumed, on the basis of no particular hard evidence, that variations in insolation resulting from Milankovitch rhythms were responsible for climate changes on Earth (“What else could it be?”) This despite N/S hemispheric differences in insolation that required compensatory “ancillary forcings” to explain them away. What if insolation has nothing to do with it? What if the actual effect is really gravitational? Okay, How can gravitation possibly affect climate? Easily, in fact, by affecting Earth’s delicately balanced plate tectonic system, setting it into increased or decreased motion. Why would that affect climate? Through increased or decreased volcanism, of course. Andesitic volcanism tends to cool Earth through aerosol production, but basaltic volcanism releases HCl and HBr, which, if elevated above sea level, as in Iceland, can enter the atmosphere and become a source of stratospheric ozone depletion, which allows more of Sun’s “hottest” UV-B radiation to reach Earth’s surface, where it is absorbed by water and water vapor, causing global warming. This is admittedly an unproven hypothesis, but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence with which it is fully consistent, and it should therefore at least have equal status with the likewise unproven insolation hypothesis.

    • David
      if you come with a theory you have to produce at least some figures to support it.

      Looking again at my own figures, it does not seem to support your theory.

      over the past 40 years,
      on means
      on a truly representative global sample of 54 weather stations, [balanced to zero latitude]

      I have 0.02K/annum warming in the NH and it is 0.00K/annum in the SH

      average is 0.012K/annum, global

      on maxima it is 0.026K/annum in the NH and 0.042K/annum in the SH.
      average is 0.034K/annum globally.

      Go figure how that fits in with your theory?

  46. It’s consistent with some observed facts. First, obviously, there’s a gravitational component to Milankovitch rhythms. Should this simply be ignored, or should its possible ramifications be explored? Second, it’s been observed that volcanic eruptions tend to be more frequent during full Moons, an obvious gravitational effect. Third, tectonic plates are already in motion; it shouldn’t take much to nudge them into greater activity. Fourth, sedimentary rhythmites through the Phanerozoic aren’t glacially related, but they are related to Milankovitch rhythms. Insolation variation makes no sense with regard to sediment production, but increased tectonism does. Fifth, although both insolation and gravitation can only be assessed through correlations and theoretical calculations, neither of these constitutes hard data, and so definite proof of causation can’t ever be obtained for either possibility. Nonetheless, I think that weight of evidence and the fact that rhythmites can’t be ascribed to insolation place a stronger likelihood on gravitation as the actual cause of Milankovitch-related changes.

    • David
      You did not help explain my results.
      My results say insolation is happening and varying – various solar cycles.
      Also that earth’s inner core moved a bit north east
      … as evident by the shift in the magnetic north pole over the past 50 years.

      • Fine. No doubt they are, but that alone doesn’t invalidate my concept. The DJIA has been rising over the last hundred years or so, and so has atmospheric carbon dioxide. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the DJIA causes global warming. Both your mechanism and mine can explain observed facts, and to that extent both should be considered unless it can be shown that one of them is inconsistent with observed facts. When two or more such mechanisms can explain the same phenomenon, and neither or none of them can be shown to be invalid, then Occam’s razor comes into play, i.e., which mechanism has the fewest problems, requires the least arm-waving to make it work, is simplest and most straightforward, and is most consistent with observed facts. Considering these criteria, I submit that gravitation comes out ahead of insolation.

      • David
        my own findings show that maximum T is falling on earth, globally, in line with the solar polar magnetic field strengths. Must be that as the magnetic field is falling, more of the most energetic particles are able to escape from the sun, forming more ozone, peroxides and N-oxides, TOA. More of these substances, as you can imagine, divert more of the normal UV back to space. Hence, less energy [UV] actually goes into the oceans.
        Most data sets [except my own] have not even picked on the fact that globally cooling has already started, or are being manipulated to show otherwise.

      • you can draw a binomial from 1971 -2014 to represent the average polar field strengths?
        [the ‘double’ sc around 1971 and 2014 indicate dead end stops]

      • henryp, your observations are probably correct. This mechanism, along with mine, should both be further investigated as probable causes of temperature change on Earth. In any case, the system is a whole lot more complex than the warmists and the carbon demonizers would have us believe.

  47. A serious and informative thread, but there is something missing that cannot be found (yet) from any of the above. That obliquity changes around a mean of 23,26′, where the mean is fixed for eternity, is false. It can change, and has done so and repeatedly, and abruptly, during the Holocene max. Those changes have been recorded in man-made calendars, along with the seismic events that resulted. Those events left their mark in various proxies. Thanks to several papers the dates of the events have been identified with a decent level of confidence. Perhaps someone would be interested to go back to the basics of obliquity and prove (or disprove) why the empirical part of obliquity (the as-is factor) is or should be unchanging.

    Take a look at this structure, one of several. It is post 5200bce, latitude 35.8N. An 18deg equinox to solstice sunrise on horizon movement means an obliquity of around 14deg (rough calc). One of more than 16 different sites with same dimension, (but long story). Here: https://www.facebook.com/melitamegalithic/photos/a.433731873468290.1073741829.430211163820361/471094826398661/?type=3&theater Dating as per here: https://www.facebook.com/melitamegalithic/photos/a.729796877195120.1073741865.430211163820361/749567168551424/?type=3&theater

  48. meltamegalithic’s argument is circumstantial, and therefore not proof of significant deviation from an obliquity of 23.4 degrees. The mechanism responsible for constancy of obliquity is Moon’s gravitational force on Earth’s equatorial bulge. This doesn’t vary over time.

    • David, I am presenting technical, -with a mathematical base-, evidence/proof (since no way it could happen by chance). The mechanism you describe accounts for the secular variation of obliquity, but not where the mean ought to reside. That evidence indicates that transient changes/shifts are possible.

      That is not enough in itself. However three thousand years of technical development from one stage to another, once its been unraveled and understood, leaves little doubt. The latter half of that forced+developmental changes are dated. That those dates show up unmistakably as corresponding disturbances in various proxies, matter.

      Now I have used one latter design to forecast the summer solstice (they are that versatile). The model was accurate to within 3hrs of UTC time. The original would be more accurate. Now that unit was designed to a lower obliquity, as several previous ones, and modified to higher as per today’s. That evidence I find hard to deny.

      • Gloateus Maximus March 4, 2017 at 11:50 am

        Upon the imposition of direct Roman rule of Judea in AD 6, Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, Roman governor of Syria, did take a census. The Jewish historian Josephus portrays the annexation and census as the cause of an uprising which later became identified with the Zealot movement. The author of the Gospel of Luke (whom I’m willing to believe was the Luke of Acts) uses it as the narrative means by which Jesus gets born in Bethlehem, placing the census within the reign of Herod the Great, who actually died ten years earlier in 4 BC.

        No satisfactory explanation has been put forward so far to resolve this contradiction.
        ———————————————————————————————————————
        GM, many have been satisfied that the supposed contradiction has been resolved when they learn that the census in 6 AD was the 2nd taken while Quirinius was a Governor of Syria.That there were 2 is the reason Luke needed to specify:

        Luke 2:2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) (NIV)

        The 1st census was indeed taken 10 years earlier while Herod still lived, as anyone who has looked into the matter as much as you have surely knows.
        ==============================================

        Gloateus Maximus March 4, 2017 at 2:54 pm

        …It is clear to the most casual observer, not blinded by faith, that the Bible was not written by Moses nor inspired by God. The writers in the Babylonian Captivity or before who reworked ancient Mesopotamian myths starring Yahweh rather than Marduk or Sumerian deities were at least creative.
        ————————————————————————————————————–

        Genesis 6:15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. NIV

        The Gilgamesh epic specifies the ship to be 10 ninda long, 10 ninda wide, and ten ninda high

        GM, it is clear to the most casual observer, not blinded by bias, that the shape of the ship in Gen. 6:15 makes a sea-worthy craft, while a cube does not. This same casual observer would realize that the account that gets the details right is not a reworking of an account that gets them wrong.

        SR

    • The moon is currently receding at ~3.8 cm per year. This rate of course has not been constant. Four billion years ago, tidal calculations show it to have been only 16,000 km away from the Hadean Eon earth then spinning in a six-hour day.

      Eventually the barycenter of the earth-moon system will lie outside the earth.

      • Gloateus
        [does that mean the same as glorious?]
        earth then spinning in a six hour day

        henry says
        must say
        I have always been wondering about what Jesus says in Matthew 24
        namely that during the great persecution [distress], those days with be shorter [shortened]

        If I take that literally it would imply a large object from the solar system coming very nearby earth and changing its rotation speed…..obviously eventually causing disaster and the subsequent end of earth.

        Could that be the dark planet that has been identified from its force but not from its position.

      • Henry,

        It’s a play on gluteus maximus, the muscles of the human posterior, and on the verb to gloat.

        IMO the actual history of the solar system has nothing to do with random New Testament passages. Or OT.

        There is no science in the Bible, which is an assemblage of pre-scientific documents, surprisingly even the NT, written after pagan Greek science had already made major advances. The Bible itself doesn’t even claim naturalistic reality, as obviously it couldn’t, being so riddled with internal contradictions and plain physical impossibilities and observational falsehoods.

        As 2 Tim 3:16 notes, “inspired scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”, by which of course the author (who wasn’t Paul) referred to the OT as it then was, quite different from later Christian versions. The (forged, yet canonical) passage says nothing about accurately reporting the natural world or even history, although after about 800 BC the Bible becomes less myth and legend and more historically reliable.

        In any case, the “days” in Matthew 24 refer to the time the elect will suffer compared to the rest of humanity. It doesn’t mean that physical days will get shorter or longer.

        That said, the temple was in fact destroyed only a few decades after Jesus, by the Romans in AD 70.

      • Argued like that, you could also dismiss all the prophecies written long before Jesus’ life on earth, but we know they are true because it all happened during Jesus’ life on earth and particularly, on his way to the cross.
        I think the reference could be meant literally – i.e. that the days will become shorter just before the world comes to an end. It ties in with the star called wormwood in rev.
        I don’t really think that the solar system is fully understood and how much our weather depends upon it.\
        e.g

      • Henry,

        The NT was concocted to try to make it look as if Jesus fulfilled OT prophecies, starting with Luke and “Matthew’s” obviously bogus Bethlehem taxation story. Jews are right not to buy into the returned Messiah thing.

        OTOH I see no compelling reason to doubt that an itinerant Essene rural preacher did live in 1st century Galilee, possibly even named Joshua, son of Joseph. However, despite an alleged discovery in 2009 of 1st century materials in Nazareth, there still is no evidence that the village existed then, so those who question the reality of the biblical Jesus have some basis for their doubts.

      • And this Joshua (Jesus) might well even have been John the Baptist’s cousin. There is some evidence supporting the actual existence of John the Baptist.

        But Jesus’ birth in the city of David due to a census and flight into Egypt stories are plainly made up. Nevertheless, I like having been born on Holy Innocents’ Day.

        Upon the imposition of direct Roman rule of Judea in AD 6, Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, Roman governor of Syria, did take a census. The Jewish historian Josephus portrays the annexation and census as the cause of an uprising which later became identified with the Zealot movement. The author of the Gospel of Luke (whom I’m willing to believe was the Luke of Acts) uses it as the narrative means by which Jesus gets born in Bethlehem, placing the census within the reign of Herod the Great, who actually died ten years earlier in 4 BC.

        No satisfactory explanation has been put forward so far to resolve this contradiction. Some scholars think that Luke simply made a mistake, but others are less charitable. To them the “mistake” was intentional, a shameless attempt to connect the Galilean preacher with the House of David.

      • henryp
        March 4, 2017 at 12:48 pm

        I’ve thought about and studied the Bible for well over 50 years, to include the NT and Septuagint OT (as known to the Apostles) in Greek. Also the Hebrew OT with attention to the original meanings of its words, as elucidated by modern scholarship, to include the Ugaritic texts and Dead Sea Scrolls.

        It is clear to the most casual observer, not blinded by faith, that the Bible was not written by Moses nor inspired by God. The writers in the Babylonian Captivity or before who reworked ancient Mesopotamian myths starring Yahweh rather than Marduk or Sumerian deities were at least creative.

      • I meant the number of prophecies written down hundreds of years before Christ that all came true during Jesus’ life on earth and on His way to the cross are staggering. If it were only one or two correct prophecies one might still be able to call it a
        coincidence. But with 30 or 40? And it is not like He Himself could have a hand in
        the fulfilling of these prophecies. Take for instance Psalm 22, written in about
        960 BC. Hanging on the cross Jesus quotes from this particular psalm (See Matt 27:
        46), which means of course that these scriptures were in existence during His life on earth. But there was no way that He personally could have exerted any influence on what they were doing with his clothes! (Ps 22:17–19, compare with Luke 23:33 or John 19:23-24). It is almost like a signature! Jesus is saying: It
        is I, your God, who hangs on this cross; it is about Me that all the Scriptures are speaking. I thought it good to start my book with some of those prophecies.

        As to the problem of planetary involvement on earth’s weather – we digress.

      • GM, the Moon could never have been closer to the Earth than 18,400 km, as that is the Roche limit. A Moon sized object would be broken up within that distance. In your scenario the material of the Moon would initially have been a ring of rubble that could not coalesce. Tidal forces would not cause individual pieces to recede. If your ideas are right, we would not see the Moon in the sky. Maybe I shouldn’t believe my lying eyes…

        Actually, the rate of the Moon’s recession is gradually slowing with increasing distance. The recession rate, if run back in time as a mathematical exercise, would have placed the Moon in contact with the Earth only 1.5 billion years ago.

        Either there is no Moon, or the Earth isn’t as old as many think.

        SR

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