Global Slowing is Manmade and Dangerous

By Dr. Kohr E. O’Lis, PE, PhD

reprinted by permission of the International Journal of Environmental Mechanics


The author shows that modern mining methods and mineral redistribution are increasing the polar moment of inertia of the earth.  According to conservation of angular momentum, it is therefore necessary that the earth’s rate of rotation decrease.  In addition, if the center of gravity is relocated, then the earth no longer rotates around its centroidal axis, thereby increasing the effective polar moment of inertia even more and exacerbating the problem.

The earth is approximately an oblate spheroid with irregularities at nearly all points of its surface.  Generally, for discussions like this, the earth is regarded as a perfect sphere with a circumference of 25,000 statute miles.  The radius is thus 3,978.87358 statute miles and the volume is 2.63857x1011 cubic miles.  Taking the average specific density as 150 pounds per cubic foot, the density of concrete, then the “weight” of the earth is 1.10339x1021 pounds.  The mass moment of inertia about an axis through the centroid is the 2/5Mr2 or

6.04951x1033 pound-foot-sec2.

Generally, mankind has removed various minerals, including water and carbon, from the outermost mile of the earth’s crust.  It is difficult to determine how much this is, since deep mining has been happening for an estimated 3,000 years but mining certainly has accelerated during the period of time known as the Industrial Revolution. Some of the material mined is simply raised to the surface where it stays, including metals and water in otherwise arid regions like the Southwestern United States.  Some materials, such as oil and coal, are burned and changed into gasses which are actually raised to an average elevation of ten miles above the surface of the earth or 11 miles higher than their natural location.  Allowing for a world population of 5 billion people and an average consumption of only 1 pound per day of fuel and 1 pound per day for metals for the past 40 years should provide us with a conservative approximation for relocated mined material.

The rotation of the earth is about once per 24 hours or 7.2722x10-5 radians/second.  That gives us an angular momentum of 4.363323x1029 pound-ft-seconds


Noting that the polar moment of inertia of a particle of mass “dm” is r2dm yields (r22-r12)dm as the change in polar moment of inertia for a particle moved from position 1 to position 2.  The increase in the moment of inertia for water and metals is then 1.38x1021 pound-foot-sec2 and the increase in the moment of inertia of the fuel is then  5.54x1024 pound-foot-sec2.  The total mass in each category which has moved has a weight of 7.3x1013 pounds and due to the geopolitical situation, it is reasonable to say that the material is mostly removed from the Eastern hemisphere to the Western hemisphere, so we have a material deficit in one side of the globe and a corresponding surplus on the other.  So, on average, the centroidal axis of the earth has been moved about 12.9 feet from its axis of rotation.  The increase in the polar moment of inertia due to this new-found eccentricity is 1.83x1023 pound-foot-sec2.  The total increase in polar moment of inertia due to these effects is about 5.72x1024 pound-foot-sec2.


This is an increase of about 1/10millionth of a percent.  Since there must be a corresponding decrease in the rate of rotation to preserve the angular momentum, each day has to be 0.8 seconds shorter than before.  Although this is not particularly alarming, it is important to note that this is a trend and not an end state.  In addition, since the earth’s axis is now eccentric, all life forms are now subject to a “jiggle” as they pass over the area furthest from the actual axis of rotation.  Both the “jiggle” and the slowing of rotation can be expected to continue as long as present mining practices are maintained.  Since both of these phenomena are new geologically speaking and increasing in magnitude at increasing rates of increase, it is safe to say that we are starting to experiment in a potentially undesirable way with all life on earth.

An important part of all mining operations therefore is not a simple restoration of the topsoil and plant life, but complete injection of the mine or deep well with concrete slurry at the same rate that material is withdrawn so as to maintain the balance of the globe at the status quo.


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