Earth Axial Tilt (t)
Earth Axial Tilt is the term used to describe the extent to which the Earth’s rotational axis is out of true with its orbital plane around the sun. This tilt varies between 24.5 degrees and 22.1 degrees over the course of a 41,000-year cycle. The current tilt is 23.5 degrees.
The Australian astronomer G.F. Dodwell made a study of ancient gnomons erected in many parts of the world and discovered that they did not conform to the theoretical curve. His studies indicate that an unexplained change to the Earth’s axis took place around 2345 BC. He apparently concluded that the data indicated an effect similar to that of a spinning top that has been hit and is regaining equilibrium(a). Dodwell’s discoveries have been seized upon by creationists as support for a ‘young’ earth.
A number of catastrophists, including Immanuel Velikovsky, have claimed that close encounters or actual impacts with other celestial bodies have caused changes in the Earth’s rotational characteristics. They further contend these changes have occurred within the experience of man, who has conveyed them through myth and legend to us.
There has been considerable speculation that such an encounter may have precipitated tectonic, seismic or tidal effects that led to the destruction of Atlantis.
A 2010 paper by Mihai Radu Draghici suggests(b) that an impact in the South Pacific created what is known as Drake’s Passage which separates South America from Antarctica. He also suggests that this event affected the tilt of the earth and that it probably took place within the memory of man.
An intriguing passage can be found in the apochryphal Book of Enoch which seems to endorse the idea that the tilt of the earth’s axis occurred within the experience of man and was later recorded. “In those days Noah saw that the earth became inclined, and that destruction approached.”(c) [Enoch LXIV. 1 – trans. Richard Laurence, 1883]