cientists say the Earth’s inner core has ceased rotating and is currently spinning backward, or at least that is what most media outlets have understood. As Forbes has mentioned in a recent article. As with most scientific studies, it is quite difficult to wrap your head around it, especially when you are not an expert. Therefore reporting such findings can be quite difficult. At the same time, there is a lot of controversy around the topic of Earth’s core and therefore people do not know exactly what to believe.
This stop and change “in direction” in the last 60 to 70 years may explain a variety of natural occurrences, according to research published in Nature Geoscience. For those of us who are blissfully oblivious of our planet’s massive metal ball at its heart, the inner core is 75% the size of the moon and about as hot as the sun’s surface.
If we take a look at the summary of the study we can see that we are not exactly talking about a change in direction, but more about a shift in the movement of the core from what has been registered in the past 60 years.
“Differential rotation of Earth’s inner core relative to the mantle is thought to occur under the effects of the geodynamo on core dynamics and gravitational core–mantle coupling. This rotation has been inferred from temporal changes between repeated seismic waves that should traverse the same path through the inner core. Here we analyse repeated seismic waves from the early 1990s and show that all of the paths that previously showed significant temporal changes have exhibited little change over the past decade. This globally consistent pattern suggests that inner-core rotation has recently paused. We compared this recent pattern to the Alaskan seismic records of South Sandwich Islands doublets going back to 1964 and it seems to be associated with a gradual turning-back of the inner core as a part of an approximately seven-decade oscillation, with another turning point in the early 1970s. This multidecadal periodicity coincides with changes in several other geophysical observations, especially the length of day and magnetic field. These observations provide evidence for dynamic interactions between the Earth’s layers, from the deepest interior to the surface, potentially due to gravitational coupling and the exchange of angular momentum from the core and mantle to the surface.”Quote taken from Nature Geoscience/ Multidecadal variation of the Earth’s inner-core rotation by Yi Yang and Xiodong Song
What can be said with confidence from the study is an observance of the abnormal behavior of Earth’s Core. At the same time with a periodical halt. But what does this all mean and most importantly, how does it affect us?
The inner core, which lies 3,000 miles beneath our feet and is surrounded by a liquid outer core, remains mostly unknown since it cannot be directly sampled. This means that experts like Song and Yang study seismic waves from earthquakes and nuclear weapon tests to learn more about their properties.
So far, we know that the ball, which is mostly formed of iron and nickel, is 1,520 miles long and has a temperature of roughly 5,200 degrees Celsius ( 9,392F).
And, while scientists know that the outer liquid core allows it to spin at different speeds and directions than the rest of the Earth, they are still trying to figure out how quickly it rotates and whether this fluctuates over time.
The core of the Earth is vital in shaping our planet and the conditions that allow life to survive on its surface. The movement of the Earth’s core, specifically the convection of the outer core and the rotation of the inner core, has various consequences on us.
The formation of the Earth’s magnetic field is one of the most significant impacts. The movement of molten iron and nickel in the outer core generates electric currents, which cause the magnetic field to form. This field shields the Earth from dangerous solar radiation and charged particles, allowing life to thrive on the planet. Without this field, the Earth would be assaulted with strong radiation, making survival difficult.
Plate tectonics, the process through which the Earth’s crustal plates move and interact, is also influenced by the Earth’s core movement. The movement of the tectonic plates, which shapes the Earth’s surface and is responsible for the formation of mountains, valleys, and ocean basins, is driven by convection in the outer core. Earthquakes and volcanoes are also caused by the movement of the tectonic plates, which can have both devastating and positive consequences on human populations.
Furthermore, the movement of the Earth’s core has an impact on the climate. The inner core’s rotation is thought to play a role in the creation of ocean currents, which can have a considerable impact on the Earth’s climate.
These currents aid in the distribution of heat from the equator to the poles, thereby regulating the planet’s temperature.
It’s important to note that the impacts of the Earth’s core movement are frequently minor and occur over millions of years. However, understanding the dynamics of the Earth’s core movement is critical for understanding the Earth’s past, present, and future, as well as predicting possible hazards caused by the core’s movement, such as magnetic field variations, and volcanic and seismic activity.
Understanding the way the Core works and how it affects us should be the first step toward reporting on such findings. If Earth’s Core was to actually stop, it would be devastating, just have a look at the article below.
At the same time, it is important to understand that such studies and scientific works can sometimes not be as accurate as scientists think. At the end of the day, be your own judge of what you read.