Is the Earth's core one-sided? Strange things happen in the bowels of our planet

Is the Earth's core one-sided? Strange things happen in the bowels of our planet
Is the Earth's core one-sided? Strange things happen in the bowels of our planet
Anonim

The Earth's inner core of solid iron grows faster on one side than on the other. Nobody knows why this is happening.

The strange changes have been taking place since the core began freezing out of molten iron more than half a billion years ago, say seismologists at the University of California, Berkeley. The accelerated growth is taking place in the Banda Archipelago region of Indonesia. There is a group of small volcanic islands.

Gravity evenly distributes new "build-ups" - iron crystals that form as the molten iron cools - to maintain the spherical shape of the inner core. But its radius is increasing by an average of 1 mm per year.

The increased growth on one side suggests that something in the outer core or mantle of the Earth beneath Indonesia is drawing heat away from the inner core at a faster rate than on the opposite side, beneath Brazil. Faster cooling on one side accelerates the crystallization of iron and the growth of the inner core.

This change has implications for the earth's magnetic field and history. Convection in the outer core, caused by the release of heat from the inner core, today sets in motion a system for generating a magnetic field that protects us from dangerous particles of the Sun.

“We give a rather vague framework regarding the age of the inner core - from half a billion to 1.5 billion years,” experts say. At the same time, the magnetic field has existed for about 3 billion years. More accurate data on the processes in the interior of the Earth will help to find out how the magnetic field functioned before the emergence of a solid inner core, scientists say.

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