The orbital trajectory and axis orientation of our planets will tend to vary in the course of millennia. These variations were observed for the first time by a Serbian geophysicist called Milutin Milankovitch, and they are known under the name of Milankovitch cycles. They are also able to influence the amount of sunlight which can reach the surface of our planet.
This means that Milankovitch cycles are one of the prime factors which can influence our climate. Modern technology allows researchers to track these titles in real time. Some researchers are interested in how the orbit of our planet changed over the cause of millions of years, and they learn valuable information by examining the structure of rock layers.
Of course, if we take into account the fact that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, not much is known the variations which took place billions of years ago. This was the case in the past, but a team of researchers discovered exciting information.
Researchers Analyze Rocks To Observe Milankovitch Cycles
The team of researchers, consisting of scientists from Utrecht University, University of Quebec and the University of Geneva conducted a series of experiments which involved an in-depth analysis of the rhythmic layering patterns present in rocks.
The type of sediments deposited within a specific timeframe varies according to the climate and the type of location. Researchers observed these sedimentary records with the help of spectral analysis. The effort was quite rewarding as the team managed to track down cyclic climatic variations in banded iron formations (also known as BIFs).
BIFs are comprised of several layers rocks rich in iron, which were once on the ocean floor but have surfaced in select areas of the crust. The study found a link between the alterations observed in BIFs and the cyclical changes in Earth’s orbit. The discovery suggests that BIFs can be deemed to be a reliable archive of the astronomical climate. Further research is already underway, and the study was published in a scientific journal.