The relationship between the Earth and the moon has gone on for billions of years. The effects the moon has on Earth are plenty and each has its own role in human life. Without them Earth would be tremendously different. The Moon has an effect on the crust of the Earth which causes phenomena within the crust and the rumors of the Earth cooling, also the Moon has a drastic affect on the tides of the Earth and these can cause some tidal shifts as well as tidal locking of the Earth and the Moon. Another controversial topic is whether or not the Moon affects behaviour of people on Earth, this will be on of the major focus’ and we ultimately decide for ourselves if there is enough evidence to suggest that. Knowing how the moon affects the Earth and why they’re important is a key role in understanding life on Earth. Thus learning how the Moon has a relationship with our planet allows us to be able to explain marvels such as high and low tides, phenomena that goes on within the crust of our Earth, and possibly disprove or prove theories of the relation of the Moon and behaviours of people on Earth.
How the moon affects the crust of the earth
The Moon’s gravitational pull on the Earth plays a big role in the development and sustaining the magnetic field surrounding the Earth that gives our planet protection from solar winds and cosmic ray particles.3 A classical thermal buoyancy theory of the Earth’s geodynamo states that four billion years ago the Earth had to have been completely molten, and the internal temperature of its core would have slowly cooled from around 6800°C to its current temperature of around 3800°C today.1 2 A supercooling state would lead to fast growth of the Earth’s inner core, and in result a rise in chemical thermal buoyancy, an upward force from hydrostatic pressure that is equal and opposite to the weight of liquid iron alloy displaced by the Earth’s core, would affect the geomagnetic field.4 This theory is no longer supported due to the geochemical composition studies of the oldest known carbonatites and basalts, evidence of a stable thermal state of the cosmic microwave background, and early modeling of the evolution of Earth’s internal temperature. Recent research presented in the article “The deep Earth may not be cooling down” states that the Moon’s gravitational pull on the Earth’s mantle layer and rotational energy causes the Earth’s outer layer of liquid iron alloy to rapidly move, generating the magnetic field. The elastic deformation of the Earth’s mantle due to the Moon’s tidal effects, along with the change in Earth’s rotational inclined axis orientation could cause continuous movement of the molten iron alloy that the Earth’s outer core is composed of; resulting in the energy for generating the magnetic field surrounding the Earth. 1 2
A continuous energy source of 3700 billion watts is provided to the Earth through the rotational and gravitational energy of the Moon-Earth system effects. Out of the 3700 billion watts of energy, 1000 billion watts is believed to contribute to the rapid movement of the molten liquid making up the Earth’s outer core and is enough energy to produce the magnetic field; further explaining the invalidation of the thermal buoyancy theory. Along with this, the classical thermal buoyancy theory requires supercooling of 1000K before the Earth’s core forms crystallization conditions. Supercooling of this intensity is not possible for the Earth’s core to undergo.4 An additional effect of the Moon’s gravitational influence causes a non-regular orbit of the Earth and Moon creating an unstable motion of Earth’s molten core, which can also explain heat pulses in the outer core and along the outer core’s boundary with the Earth’s mantle. 1 2
Tides and how the moon affects it
The moon affects our Oceans in a significant way, the moon causes us to have high and low tides due to the gravitational pull on the Earth. In figure 1 you can see an example of this.
Depending on the location of the moon and the earth it will shift the tides of the Earth, as high tides are always directed towards the moon due to gravitational pull on the Earth. As the moon rotates around the Earth the oceans “Bulge out” as NASA directly puts it.<sup>5</sup> The sun can also have an affect on the tides however the Moon’s effects on the tides are twice as big as the tides that the sun creates. The Moon affects our tides but we also have an affect on the moon, as you look into the sky we can only see one side of the Moon, ever. This is an effect known as “Tidal Locking” this seems to happen to all large moons in our solar system, and slowly but surely will happen to the planets in the far future.
To explain Tidal locking of the Moon and the Earth it should be explained first by how did the Moon became tidally locked and why possibly it could happen to Earth. A long time ago when the Moon wasn’t tidally locked to the Earth the Moon also spun while rotating around the Earth, as this happens like the “bulges” the Moon makes in our tides the Earth did the same thing to the Moon’s surface. Since the Moon was spinning the bulges slowly shaped out of place and giving the Earth a grip to actually hold onto. This now means the moon is a little football shaped and the Earth is holding onto it. So, now as the moon rotates around the Earth it is doing the same thing to our planet. Distorting it slowly and in many billions of years in the future it is a strong possibility that we will have ourselves a Moon that no longer moves in the sky and only have of the Earth will be able to see it.
One of the main factors to these extremes tides is the tidal locking of the Moon. With the moon making the bulges in the oceans, where the Bay is located it has a massive effect onto it. You can see
in Figure 2 and Figure 3 the differences between the high tide and low tide of the Bay. These changes are very drastic to the point where even boats are sitting on the ground of the Bay at low tide. As we can see the moon has drastic effects on our tides and our planets but another area of research is if the Moon has any effects on humans.
The Moon’s Effects on Human Behaviours
Since the time of the Greeks, it has been well understood that the moon is capable of having a significant impact on life here on
earth. Where once stood towering boulders at one point during the day can be completely submerged in water a few hours later. If the moon can influence something as vast as the ocean, surely it is capable of having an impact on humans.
Arnold Lieber hypothesized that since the human body is comprised of mostly fluids, the moon should have the capability of influencing human functioning as well, specifically the “biological rhythm of human aggression.”7 He believed that at a cellular
Lieber’s hypothesis is very appealing with further investigation, it is easily disproved. The surface of the earth is a ratio of 80:20, with gravity being involved with the attraction of three-dimensional structures and the object’s entire total mass.7 The moon’s gravitational pull is powerful, but it only influences larger bodies of water. The water which is affected by the gravitational pull of the moon is referred to as bound water.7 While the moon can influence the tidal patterns of the Atlantic Ocean, it has little influence over Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan. A conclusion can then be drawn that if the water from Lake Diefenbaker is unaffected by the moon’s pull, then so too should the liquids found in human bodies, and therefore we can understand that contrary to Lieber’s theory, human behaviour remains unaffected by the moon.
level, just as the gravitational pull of the moon affects the tidal changes, so are the aggressive behaviours of humans. Although
Again, the Greeks also introduced the idea of the moon’s phases, having an impact on human behaviours. Hippocrates stated that “no physician should be entrusted with the treatment of disease
with an ignorance of the science of astronomy.”8 The term “lunacy,” usually used to describe a state of madness or psychosis, is derived from Luna, the Roman goddess of the moon.9 Throughout the history of psychology, it was thought that those with mania would have increased symptoms during the full moon. Those working within the psychiatric fields would report patients experiencing more aggressive and manic behaviours as well as an increased amount of seizures.9 As late as the end of the twentieth-century, emergency room attendants said that there was indeed a relationship between patient behaviours and the phases of the moon.10 Why was this the case? Multiple studies have been conducted to identify a link between the lunar phases and patients seeking treatment for psychological conditions. The findings of these studies are inconsistent.
One group of researchers conducted a longitudinal study spanning ten years (1982-1991), examining the residents of Verona Italy with the hopes of showing a statistical relationship between requests for psychological services and the phases of the moon.11 The synodic month was divided into four phases- new moon, first quarter, full moon, and third quarter. There was no significant statistical relationship found during the full moon, which according to historical understanding, should have been the busiest time of the month. With the total contacts made between the clients and psychological services being 144 490, only 5.8% were drop-in patients.12 The authors indicated that whole numbers along with drop-in numbers, indicated no statistical connection between the moon’s phase and the number of requests for service from Mental Health Services.11
Another study conducted in Canada proposed that in previous studies, the definition as to what the period of the full moon referred to was inconsistent, and aimed to investigate if the moon possibly had an effect at specific times.12 Three different models were investigated, a twelve-hour, a twenty-four-hour, and a three-day model representing the amount of time that the moon supposedly has the power to influence human behaviour. Nine thousand nine hundred sixty-seven requested psychological services at their local emergency room over five years.13 They, too, did not find a prominent statistical connection between the moon and the client’s behaviours concerning the three-day model. The twelve-hour model however showed a higher representation of clients suffering from anxiety during the full moon, as well they noted a higher admission rate for personality disorders. Triage crises were said to be more urgent during the full moon versus the rest of the month.12 They did clarify that although the urgency ratings were different, the mean scores statistically showed a minimal difference. They concluded that more research must take place with a consistent definition as to what the full moon is to put this topic to rest completely12 It was suggested that there is a possibility that the moon does affect us; researchers are just not investigating the right variables.9 They mentioned that the possibility of symptom onset might be delayed after exposure to the moon takes place.9
Kelly, a researcher from the University of Saskatchewan, participated in a twenty-year meta-analysis of this topic.7 His team discovered that out of the twenty-three studies reviewed, 50% contained statistical errors and therefore disproved this theory. He also concluded that many of these studies were not independent and contained conflict of interest,7 which is hugely problematic in the search for objective truth.
If there is little hard evidence to support the theory that the moon has enough power to influence human behaviour, how has it had enough traction to remain a relevant topic of discussion for so long? Is there any way to explain a possible influence from the moon on humankind? Through an understanding of the causation of these periods of “lunacy,” and seizures, as well as the consideration of technological differences in humanity’s past, may shine some light on these questions. It should be recalled that lunacy (now understood as mania) can be linked to a specific mental disorder, bipolar.9 The Canadian Mental Health Association defines bipolar as being a mood disorder where sufferers typically have episodes of depression and episodes of mania or periods of very high elevated moods.12 Those suffering from bipolar along with any seizure disorder, tend to be sensitive regarding the amount of sleep that they receive.9 One study focusing on rapid cycling bipolar patients discovered that even a slight deviation from a standard sleep time would result in a switch to mania within 75% of the participants. With just one night of regular sleep, 50% of those affected would return to what they considered to be “normal” behaviours for themselves.9 Today we take advantage of the necessary technology that we have available to us, such as the gas, and then later the electric light. Before the invention of the gaslighting, the brightest evening of the month would have been the night of the full moon, allowing for more activities to occur beneath its light.10 People likely would have stayed up later partaking in these activities, or there is the possibility that their sleep would have been disturbed by the extra light, therefore affecting their sleep patterns. For many, this would not have been of any concern but those dealing with what we now understand to be bipolar; this could have the potential to trigger a switch to an episode of mania.7 8 Kelly suggests that the most significant explanation as to why the belief of a lunar relationship to behaviours is persisting the most major being that of confirmation bias.7 People are more likely to notice and expose themselves to situations or information that support their ideas.
In today’s world, it is safe to say that human behaviour is not affected by the gravitational pull or the phases of the moon,7 8 11 but there was a time in human history where this was the case. Through confirmation bias, lack of knowledge and understanding by the public, and the development of media,7 it can be suggested that the connection between the moon and human behaviour has become another myth to explain chance events.
We have discussed three major topics that the Moon possibly effects on Earth. The first being how the Moon affects the crust of the Earth, we look at the crust of our earth and how we might now actually be cooling down. The Moon and Earth have a gravitational energy and just over a quarter of the rotational energy of the Earth is coming from the Moon-Earth system, and within this system we touch on the intense amount of supercooling energy needed to to crystallize but it is just not possible as of right now. The next topic covered is the tides of the Earth and how they are affected by the Moon the Bay of Fundy is a great example of this where the tides can go as high as 53 feet in high tide. We also talk about tidal locking and what it is and how it will affect the Earth in the future. Finally we discuss how the Moon has effect on human behaviour, with all the research going into this field we ultimately decided that there is not enough scientific data to back it up. This is shown over many years of research and many studies, so we overall have learned that the Moon affects the Earth in many ways, but the people of Earth not that much.
1Andrault, Denis, et al. “The deep Earth may not be cooling down.” Earth and planetary science letters 443 (2016): 195-203.
2 CNRS. “The Moon may play a major role in maintaining Earth’s magnetic field.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2016, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160401075118.htm [Accessed 17 Nov. 2019].
3 Huguet, Ludovic, et al. “Earth’s inner core nucleation paradox.” Earth and Planetary Science Letters 487 (2018): 9-20.
4 Yan, Isabelle. “10 Things: What We Learn About Earth by Studying the Moon – NASA Solar System Exploration.” NASA, NASA, 13 Mar. 2019, ww.solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/812/10-things-what-we-learn-about-earth-by-studying-the-moon/. [Accessed 17 Nov. 2019].
5 Science.nasa.gov. (2019). Interplanetary Low Tide | Science Mission Directorate. [online] Available at: https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2000/ast04may_1m [Accessed 16 Nov. 2019].
Phys.org. (2019). What is tidal locking?. [online] Available at: https://phys.org/news/2015-11-tidal.html [Accessed 16 Nov. 2019].
6 “Bay of Fundy Tides: Highest Tides In the World!” Bay Of Fundy (2019), Accessed Dec. 1, 2019, https://www.bayoffundy.com/about/highest-tides/
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9 C.L. Raison, H. M. Klein, M. Steckler, Journal of Affective disorders 53.1, 99 (1999).
10 V. S. Parmar, E. Talikawska-Szymczak, E. Downs, P. Szymczak, E. Meiklejohn, D. Groll, ISRN Emergency Medicine 2014, (2013).
11 F. Amaddeo, G. Bisoffi, R. Micciolo, M. Piccinelli, M. Tansella, Springer-Verlag 32, 323 (1997).
12 S. M. Kazemi-Bajestani, A. Amirsadri, S. A.Samari, A. Javanbakht, Asian Journal of Psychiatry 4.1, 45 (2011).
12 Canadian Mental Health Association, Accessed Nov. 21, 2019, https://cmha.ca/mental-health/understanding-mental-illness/bipolar-disorder.