What is tidal heating?


What is tidal heating?

In: Physics

The tides are caused by the moon pulling more strongly on the near side of the Earth than the far side. More generally, tidal forces are when gravity pulls more strongly on one side of an object than the other. When objects orbit one another, these forces cause a sort of circular squishing motion, which on Earth produces the high and low tides. This force is experienced even by solid bodies, and through friction and slight motion this generates heat. Due to just how monstrously huge planets are, this heat is actually significant sometimes.

A planet or moon being squished like a batch of dough, because the gravity of its parent body is stronger on one side (where it’s closer) than on the other side (farther away).

The “kneading” generates friction which generates heat.