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Analytical Model for the Tidal Evolution of the Evection Resonance and the Timing of Resonance Escape


ABSTRACT: A high-angular momentum giant impact with the Earth can produce a Moon with a silicate isotopic composition nearly identical to that of Earth’s mantle, consistent with observations of terrestrial and lunar rocks. However, such an event requires subsequent angular momentum removal for consistency with the current Earth-Moon system. The early Moon may have been captured into the evection resonance, occurring when the lunar perigee precession period equals 1 year. It has been proposed that after a high- angular momentum giant impact, evection removed the angular momentum excess from the Earth-Moon pair and transferred it to Earth’s orbit about the Sun. However, prior N-body integrations suggest this result depends on the tidal model and chosen tidal parameters. Here, we examine the Moon’s encounter with evection using a complementary analytic description and the Mignard tidal model. While the Moon is in resonance, the lunar longitude of perigee librates, and if tidal evolution excites the libration amplitude sufficiently, escape from resonance occurs. The angular momentum drain produced by formal evection depends on how long the resonance is maintained. We estimate that resonant escape occurs early, leading to only a small reduction (~ few to 10%) in the Earth-Moon system angular momentum. Moon formation from a high-angular momentum impact would then require other angular momentum removal mechanisms beyond standard libration in evection, as have been suggested previously. Plain Language Summary A canonical giant impact with the Earth by a Mars-sized impactor can produce the Moon and the current Earth-Moon angular momentum. However, such an impact would produce a planet and protolunar disk with very different proportions of impactor-derived material, likely leading to Earth-Moon compositional differences that are inconsistent with observed Earth-Moon isotopic similarities. Alternatively, a high-angular momentum impact could form a disk with a silicate composition similar to that of the Earth, but with a postimpact angular momentum much higher than in the current Earth-Moon system. As the early Moon tidally receded from the Earth, its perigee precession period lengthened. When this period equaled 1 year, the Moon may have been captured into the evection resonance with the Sun. It has been proposed that evection removed the angular momentum excess from the Earth- Moon pair, but the appropriate degree of angular momentum removal appears sensitive to tidal models. In this work, we use an analytical model to examine the Moon’s evolution in evection and find that escape from formal resonance occurs early, with limited angular momentum reduction. Thus, in order for a high-angular momentum giant impact to be consistent with the current Earth-Moon system, additional mechanisms that do not involve standard resonance occupancy appear required.

SUBMITTER: Ward W 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7545365 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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