It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Hungry Planet

page: 1

log in


posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 07:00 PM
If you read the article linked below, you will discover that the earth is not expanding. And that it is expanding. But that the expansion is "statistically insignificant." (Insert NASA jokes here re Never a Straight Answer, etc.)

This OP is intended to provide an opportunity for us to debate just how "statistically insignificant" the expansion is/has been by breaking down the numbers provided by a "NASA led research team."

Here are a couple of pertinent quotes from the article, which is titled "It's a Small World, After All: Earth Is Not Expanding, NASA Research Confirms":

"Our study provides an independent confirmation that the solid Earth is not getting larger at present, within current measurement uncertainties," said Wu.

Here's where it gets interesting: the conclusion to the article quoted above is immediately preceded by this little gem:

The scientists estimated the average change in Earth's radius to be 0.004 inches (0.1 millimeters) per year, or about the thickness of a human hair, a rate considered statistically insignificant.

"Statistically insignificant..."

Let's play with the numbers (and it is important to note: I am NOT a mathematician, at all -- so please forgive my mistakes and feel free to correct!).

The article provides that the change to the Earth's radius is .004 inches, or .1 mm per year, which, by itself, would seem statistically insignificant. But the Earth is over 4 billion years old, right? So, let's see: .1mm per year for just a billion years......that equals 100,000,000 mm, which equals 100,000 meters, or 100 kilometers.

Doesn't sound exactly "insignificant" to me, but let's power on.

The earth's surface totals 510,072,000 sq km, according to Wikipedia (

According to NASA, the earth's mass and volume are as follows:

Mass (1024 kg) 5.9736
Volume (1010 km3) 108.321

Translated, that means that the earth's current mass is 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms, and its volume is 1,083,210,000,000 square kilometers.

This gives an average for us to utilize: each square kilometer of earth averages 5,514,720,137,369.48 kg. (mass divided by volume).

Keep these numbers in mind, but before moving on there are a couple of assumptions (ok, MASSIVE assumptions) that I need to clarify. First, I am "assuming" that if the NASA led research team is correct then the earth's "statistically insignificant" growth is the result of accretion. This is obviously up for debate. However, for the purposes of this OP, I am assuming that earth is gathering up space dust, particles, meteors, asteroids, comets, etc... The earth was formed by accretion, who's to say it ever stopped "accreting"? (and one would assume that the accretion rates have fluctuated and gradually reduced as a result of the planets of our solar system mopping up the debris over the last few billion years...)(references: and

Back to the numbers... if we take the earth's surface area, add the "statistically insignificant" change to the earth's radius to calculate the additional volume and mass added over the last billion years, we get:

Current surface (510,072,000 sq km) times averaged "statistically insignificant" change over a billion years (100 kilometers) = an additional 51,007,200,000 sq km of volume. Insignificant?

Now let's take the additional volume to calculate the additional mass: additional 51,007,200,000 sq km of volume times average mass of earth's volume (5,514,720,137,369.48 kg from above, I am using this average because we don't know exactly what is being accreted, so I am assuming (I know, I know - but stay with me) that the same "stuff" that formed our planet by accretion is still being accreted...and I understand that technically the earth's surface area would've been smaller a billion years ago and that I am not accounting for the volume and mass between the "columns" of square kilometers that I am adding, but I am not smart enough to calculate that...) we get an additional 285,194,744,200,745,813,066,552 kg of mass. That's over the course of just a billion years...

Over 4 billion years at .1 millimeter of accretion per year, we get 2,040,288,000,000 accumulated square kilometers and 1,140,778,976,802,983,252,266,208 kilograms of added mass. Approximately.

That additional "statistically insignificant" mass equals nearly 20% of earth's current mass (19.09, but who's counting?).

Doesn't look so "statistically insignificant," does it?

I have never subscribed to the expanding earth theory, but...

Kick the tires, look under the hood, drive it around the block, and give me your thoughts...


posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 07:08 PM

edit on 19-8-2011 by Yukitup because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 19 2011 @ 11:51 PM
More food for thought...

The following is from a source positing that the Grand Canyon provides evidence of accretion and an expanding earth:

(click on the diagram in the article to see it enlarged

As shown in this physiographic diagram of the Grand Canyon, just 3300 feet of dated layers demonstrate these layers were laid down sequentially since the middle of the Precambrian era, with even older layers below them. Each layer has been accreted successively since that time.

This color photograph of the Grand Canyon, particularly the varicolored layers in the foreground and the light-colored layers visible in the distance, indicate each layer slowly accreted from passing meteor streams, each with a distinctive chemical composition, for extended periods of time until replaced by other meteor streams with different compositions and colors. This variability in meteor stream content explains the worldwide occurrence of metal and chemical concentrations in various continental locations, and at different time and geological levels. These visible layers in the Grand Canyon tell us the Earth has been slowly created over x-billions of years by accretion of meteorites and meteordust from outer space and illustrate the fundamental principle of slow planetary growth and development that forms the basis of the Accreation Concept.

While the concept of an "expanding earth" is not mainstream, the "admission" of the NASA led team and the evidence presented here does not appear to be easily dismissed. Here is an interesting quote from the article regarding meteor streams:

...well-known evidence the Earth was accreting meteoritic mass from outer space from the 374 meteor streams (10 major streams, 144 minor streams, and another 220 smaller streams) that currently intersect Earth's orbit each year, adding several hundred thousand tons of new mass each year in the form of meteorite fragments and meteordust, primarily dust particles. The volume of these fragments and dust has been grossly underestimated because it cannot be seen or easily measured and blends in with existing soil that accreted earlier.

There is another potential manner in which the mass of earth is growing, though admittedly I am skeptical. The article quoted above goes on to state:

The Sun's energy is a source of mass that also has long been overlooked or ignored. The massive underground coal beds found on all continents, plus coral growth, and other organic detritus in the oceans, are all products of photosynthesis and conversion of solar energy to solid mass. These volumes are not insignificant.

This got me thinking, and I wondered, for example: where did the 5 massive pin oaks in my yard that are 70 feet tall and weigh 30 to 50 tons each get their mass? Soil? Air? Water? How much, if any, of that mass is the result of converted solar energy?

Interestingly, after researching this I don't believe that much of the mass of my oak trees came from the sun. Here's why:

The answer is actually really simple: Carbon. Photosynthesis is the act of converting CO2 from the air into O2 and a bit of H2O.

And this:

Most of "wood" - the hard substance everyone is familiar with is made of cellulose and other hydrocarbons. Looking at what cellulose is made of, it's easy to see it's predictably, made of C, H and O atoms. It's a chain of glucose mollecules and its basic formula is C6 H12 O6, in which O is the heaviest atom (16) followed by C (12) and H (1). Lignin, the other major substance, is more complex - it's actually a mixture of several similar substances and it constitutes "a quarter to a third of the dry mass of wood".

Lignin? Never heard of it, but Wiki has:

Lignin or lignen is a complex chemical compound most commonly derived from wood, and an integral part of the secondary cell walls of plants[1] and some algae.[2] The term was introduced in 1819 by de Candolle and is derived from the Latin word lignum,[3] meaning wood. It is one of the most abundant organic polymers on Earth, exceeded only by cellulose, employing 30% of non-fossil organic carbon[4] and constituting from a quarter to a third of the dry mass of wood. As a biopolymer, lignin is unusual because of its heterogeneity and lack of a defined primary structure. Its most commonly noted function is the support through strengthening of wood (xylem cells) in trees.

So it would appear that the sun's energy is being used to fuel the processes within plant life, not providing mass:

It is the radiant energy of the Sun that is converted in to the chemical energy in the tree/pant and utilized for its own purpose .

Therefore, it would appear that if we accept what our super "NASA led team of researchers" have stated with regards to the "statistically insignificant" changing of the radius of the planet, the change must be attributed to either accretion or heat expansion...

posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 09:29 PM
reply to post by Yukitup

I appreciate the flags, thank you -- but I am more interested in the thoughts and ideas of our ATS team!

So, thoughts?

Does this "admission" by the NASA led research team give credence to the expanding earth theory?

Is it really possible that nearly 20% of earth's current mass is the result of accretion over the last 4 billion years?



log in