I was wondering if we will have huge waves due to the presence of a strong gravitational field nearby earth?

If our planet is rotating around the gravitational field, is there a possibility for planet wide huge tsunamis?

Would life be able to survive on such an earth?

PS: For those of you wondering, yeah, it is similar to the scene in the Interstellar movie where the crew visits a planet surrounded by water and waves so huge they emulated mountains.

Also, can the type of waves shown in the movie be possible on earth given the presence of gravitational field nearby? (I don't think earth has that much water)

  • $\begingroup$ perhaps you would like to check the book "the science of interstellar" written by Kip Thorne, theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate (for research of gravitational waves) that was working on the movie $\endgroup$ – Umaxo May 15 at 11:17

The answer is yes. It is all about the difference in gravitational acceleration on the opposite sides of the planet. And it would not require very extreme conditions either! Suppose our moon had a mass similar to that of Earth, and was orbiting a few Earth radii away. Then its contribution to gravity at Earth's surface would be

  1. say around $1/9$ times that of Earth on the near side
  2. around $1/16$ times that of Earth on the far side

This is already enough to make huge tides, I think. It is affecting the weight of water at any given place by an amount of order $0.024 g$. To get that amount of change by moving towards or away from Earth you would have to move by $0.012$ times Earth's radius, i.e. 76 km. So that's enough to make me suspect the tides would be huge, but I admit this was a quick reaction and I have not checked my logic very thoroughly. If someone shows it is basically wrong then sorry about that and I'll correct or delete it!


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