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Q & A: Modern/Prehistoric Earth's Mass

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Most recent answer: 02/27/2011
Q:
Earth was formed from condensation of gases and I assume that it's density was increased by condensing it. if so does modern earth mass greater than olden earth?
- Neechalkaran (age 23)
Pune,Maharastra,India
A:

Hi, Neechalkaran.

The Earth was formed by condensing gases and dust.  We're not sure quite what happened when the Moon formed, but since then the Earth has been gaining mass by attracting objects in from interplanetary space, and losing mass from atmospheric molecules drifting into space. The net effect, however, is a gain in mass. Today, Earth is estimated to gain 40 to 60 thousand metric tons of mass each year (which is a very small fraction of the Earth's total mass). Safe to say, the Earth has more and more mass with each passing second. Today's Earth is definitely more massive than prehistoric Earth.

Samson


(published on 02/27/2011)

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