Earth’s rotation is slowing as our planet uses energy to keep the tidal bulge ahead of the Moon’s orbit. The Moon’s gravity keeps Earth’s rotation in check, and to do this the lunar satellite’s orbit must be slightly ahead of Earth’s. As the Moon attempts to regulate Earth’s rotation and slow it down, the Moon moves slowly away.
According to Matthew Funke, solar system ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who wrote on Q+A website Quora: “The Moon’s gravity creates a tidal bulge on the Earth. This bulge attempts to rotate at the same speed as the rest of the planet.
“As it moves ‘ahead’ of the Moon, the Moon attempts to pull it back. This slows the Earth’s rotation down.
“One of the rules of the Universe is that ‘angular momentum’ can’t go anywhere — even if individual pieces speed up, slow down, or change direction, the sum total of angular momentum cannot change.
“The Moon is currently receding from the Earth by about one and a half inches per year.”
This could lead to major earthquakes down the line.
A slower rotating globe leads to stronger and more frequent earthquakes – exactly why this is the case is unclear, but experts believe it could be down to changes in the Earth’s core which ultimately has an effect on the surface.
Research from Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado in Boulder and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana in Missoula looked at earthquakes with a magnitude higher than seven since 1900.
“The correlation between Earth’s rotation and earthquake activity is strong and suggests there is going to be an increase in numbers of intense earthquakes.”
However, this is not expected to happen for billions of years, according to Physicist Paul Walorski who explained on physics forum Phy..