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The Earth’s axis is shifting for a surprising reason

Bec Oakes

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| Last updated 

The Earth’s axis is shifting for a surprising reason

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Our knowledge about the planet we live on is constantly growing and it seems as though there is even more we might not know - particularly about the Earth's axis.

In case you weren't paying attention in science class, the Earth's rotational axis is the imaginary line that passes between the North Pole and the South Pole.

Meanwhile, the Earth's orbital axis is the line perpendicular to the imaginary plane the Earth moves through as it orbits the Sun.

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The axial tilt is the angle between these two lines.

It currently sits at about 23.44 degrees but is changing by approximately 46.8 sixtieths of a degree per century.

And scientists think they know why.

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The Earth's axial tilt is shifting approximately 46.8 sixtieths of a degree per century. Credit: Unsplash/NASA
The Earth's axial tilt is shifting approximately 46.8 sixtieths of a degree per century. Credit: Unsplash/NASA

A few years ago, the shift in the axial tilt was believed to have been a result of global warming.

However, new research suggests that groundwater extraction is also a factor.

And while melting ice caps are absolutely causing the Earth's poles to move, so can the depletion of groundwater caused by irrigation.

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Ki-Weon Seo of National University, a co-lead on the study published in Geophysical Research Letters, said: "Earth's rotational pole actually changes a lot.

"Our study shows that among climate-related causes, the redistribution of groundwater actually has the largest impact on the drift of the rotational pole."

It comes after scientists discovered that water is leaking from the Earth's surface, descending down the planet's tectonic plates before completing a 2,900km journey to its core.

And over billions of years, this has formed a new surface between the molten metal of the outer core and the outer mantle of the Earth.

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But, while things are moving at an incredibly slow rate, the phenomenon has the capacity to bring major changes to our planet, including causing the Earth's seasons to change over time.

Over billions of years, water that has leaked through the Earth's surface has caused a new surface to form between the outer core and mantle of the Earth. Credit: Getty Stock Images
Over billions of years, water that has leaked through the Earth's surface has caused a new surface to form between the outer core and mantle of the Earth. Credit: Getty Stock Images

In another recent discoveries, scientists say that a new super continent is forming that will be inhabitable for humans.

The supercontinent, which will be similar to that of Pangea almost 300 million years ago, will mean that most land mass won’t have access to a nearby ocean.

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A hotter sun and increased volcanic carbon dioxide emissions means that temperatures will skyrocket, predicted to hit between 50 and 65 Celsius during an average summer.

In fact, it is suspected to get so hot that most plant life won’t be able to survive, meaning little to no food which doesn’t bode well for us either.

And, it'll be so hot and humid that mammals won't even be able to sweat and will get hotter and hotter until our body heat cooks our organs.

Great.

Topics: Technology, News, Science, Space

Bec Oakes
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