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Energy to change a calendar

On July 7, the National Creationism Examiner discussed the history of the calendar. At issue: the ancient Egyptians, of all people, had the best natural season indicator: the Nile flood season. Why, then, did they keep a 360-day calendar for centuries? The natural calendar of the earth changed. The Egyptians took time to readjust their official calendar, but they did, beginning with the Twelfth Dynasty (Amenamhāt I, the “Pharaoh who did not know Joseph.”)

Aztec calendar stone, National Institute of Archaeology, Mexico City.
Sasha Isachenko on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License

But how did this happen? Two things happened to change the calendar:

  1. The day on Earth grew shorter. Gravitational settling after the Global Flood shortened the day by more than twenty minutes.

  2. The month also grew shorter. Seven impactors, most of them striking on the same hemisphere, lessened the moon’s specific energy. This dropped the moon into a lower orbit, with a shorter period. Today a lunar month is only slightly longer than twenty-nine-and-one-half days. And these are today’s shorter days, not the twenty-minutes-longer days before the Flood.

After the Examiner published that article, a reader contacted him to dispute the theory. He held the earth simply did not generate nearly enough energy to expel not only the material that became the seven impactors, but also the material that became the other asteroids, meteoroids, comets, and even Trans-Neptunian Objects. He wrote:

Sooo…

The Earth expels up to 4% of its mass (no mention made here of the effect on the Moon’s orbit of this mass loss, but it should jump to a higher orbit) and then at some later date seven impactors strike the Moon on the same hemisphere, slowing it and driving it into a still-higher orbit. Correct so far?

It would be interesting to see a back-of-the-envelope calculation showing the energy budget for such a series of events.

Actually, the impactors must drop the moon to a lower orbit, not a higher. But one may still ask: has anyone calculated the energy budget for launching so much matter from earth? Not to fear. Walter T. Brown, originator of the Hydroplate Theory, did.

Dr. Brown placed his calculation here, as an end-note to a wider discussion of the vast energies the Global Flood released. Why does this discussion appear in a chapter describing the origins of radioactivity on earth? Because much of the energy the Flood released, went into forming those radioactive elements. That in turn released energy from the thermalization of neutrons. (Thermalization is the slowing of free neutrons, or other subatomic particles, to the prevailing speeds of similar particles at the local temperature of the medium.) That process supplied the energy to launch into space the material for the impactors, and many other objects besides.

Brown writes:

Our oceans have 1.43 × 10^24 grams of water. For every 18 grams of water (1 mole) there are 6.022 × 10^23 (Avogadro’s number) water molecules—each with 2 hydrogen atoms. One out of every 6,400 hydrogen atoms in our oceans is heavy hydrogen (2H or deuterium). Each fast neutron thermalized by water produced at least 1 MeV of heat energy. (1 MeV = 1.602 × 10^-6 erg) A hydrogen atom (1H) that absorbs a fast neutron releases 2.225 MeV of binding energy and becomes deuterium. So, assuming earth had no unusual amount of deuterium before the flood, the amount of nuclear energy that was added to the subterranean water over several weeks, just in forming deuterium, was:

( 1.43 × 10^24/18) × (6.022 × 10^23/6400) × 2 × (1 + 2.225) × 1.602 × 10^-6 = 7.72 × 10^37 ergs

Which is equivalent to 1.8 quadrillion one-megaton thermonuclear bombs. Any process releasing that much energy in one spot would melt the earth with it.

This is merely the energy for forming heavy hydrogen in the ocean. And: it is comparable to the energy of the launch of the material that became the Mavericks of the Solar System.

Brown lists that energy budget here. He shows elsewhere in his work that the cometary material must have launched at 32 km/s on average. The rest of the material could have launched at escape speed, which is 11.2 km/s. Total energy required: 1.1 × 10^38 ergs. Brown generously doubles that, to allow for fifty-percent efficiency in the launching.

Where did all that energy, plus the energy to release all those neutrons, come from? Brown cites at least four sources:

  • Tidal pumping over at least 1,656 years, that made the sub-crustal waters supercritically hot,

  • Fire in the sub-crustal chamber, producing many of the earth’s ores,

  • The potential energy of the crust pressing down on that sub-crustal ocean, and

  • Nuclear energy. The release of this last begins with the high piezoelectric voltages from the magnitude-10-to-12 earthquakes on the continental land masses.

Of these, the nuclear energy source is the most abundant, by four orders of magnitude. Recall that 7.72 × 10^37 ergs was available from deuterium production alone. The rest likely came from super-heavy elements that decayed to produce the trans-lead elements and other heavy and radioactive isotopes of lighter-than-lead elements (including 14C) we see in the earth’s crust, atmosphere, and seas. This includes tritium, the radioactive isotope of hydrogen, and other heavy isotopes of lighter-than-lead elements, radioactive or not.

Furthermore, the calculation for the thermalization energy from deuterium production uses the water now in the oceans. It does not account for the water that was expelled. Samples of cometary ice have already shown it has twice the concentration of deuterium in the earth’s oceans. So the nuclear energy from deuterium production would be slightly greater.

To sum up: changing the calendar of earth took energy, and a lot of it. But earth had that energy, locked up and ready for release. That release came with the Global Flood, as one effect that proves most difficult for modern human beings to understand.