Billions of years ago, the young moon was orbiting around the Earth so closely that it had a profoundly strange effect on the shape of our embryonic home planet.

A cataclysmic impact that happened 4.5 billion years ago created the moon out of rubble from a barely formed Earth. Back then, as many geoscientists assumed, the Earth was a rather humdrum place. The formation of Earth's more complex geological features is still a long way off with lava oozing across a global expanse of crust.

Moon's effect on the young Earth

The young moon is said to be orbiting around the Earth so closely during that time that it strangely affected the Earth's shape. The moon used to be 30 times closer to Earth than it is right now.

The National Geographic reported that due to its proximity to Earth, it has upset its equilibrium and caused the Earth to spin so quickly and stretched the planet into a shape between a rugby ball and a double-sided Frisbee.

This oddly shaped Earth back then was a world of dramatic mountain building. The first tens of millions of years of Earth's history is an incredibly dynamic place. It is so different to the world than people have been imagining, according to Simon Lock, a planetary sciences scientist at California Institute of Technology.

The new model is not yet peer-reviewed but many scientists already think it has plenty of merit. Sara Russell, a professor of planetary sciences at the Natural History Museum in London said that idea of Earth briefly looking like a potato may seem odd but the young moon could have been one of Earth's earliest geologic engineers.

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Earth's development

The Earth's history is all written in rocks but geologic phenomena have caused the planet's geological history to be wash away from existence.

The periods of Earth shortly after its formation are particularly unclear, but geologists assume that for a considerable amount of time, the Earth was a humdrum place: stagnant, with a rocky surface under a hazy volcanic sky.

Furthermore, 4.4 billion years old zircons -a selection of near-indestructible crystals- have been discovered in Australia which puzzles scientists. Normally, zircons are found in chemically complex rocks like granites.  Scientists have agreed about how a geologically lackluster Earth could have formed such advanced materials.

Lock thought that the moon may have had something to do with it. He created simulations to see how the moon's effect on Earth's rotation might have played out.

Earth and moon in a gravitational dance

Earth and moon are inextricably locked together in a gravitational dance. According to physics, if one of them changes behavior, the other object must alter its own to maintain equilibrium.  Angular momentum states that if the moon is close by, the Earth spins faster. But if it is farther away, it also moves slower.

4.5 billion years ago, the moon was 8,000 miles away from Earth compared to today's 238,900 miles. Back then, Earth was spinning so quickly that a day may have been just 2.5 hours long and its shape turned into something considerably elliptical.

According to this model, it created a colossal bulge of solid rock, one that ran around Earth as it was chased away by the moon. It caused the moon to further accelerate and upsetting its tango with earth so it had to move away. As it did that, the Earth began to slow it's absurd spin also causing the rocks along its equator to run into each other.

The crust near the poles was torn apart and the mantle welled up into the gaps, decompressing and melting as it went, leading to the production of magma. During this time, some of the giant slabs of rock may have been forced into the mantle.

This explains the formation of the chemically evolved minerals such as those 4.4 billion-year-old zircons that the geologists found.

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