By: April Carson
The earth's core is growing faster in the east, and scientists want to know what effects this will have.
Strange changes have begun to take place in the Earth's inner core, according to seismologists at the University of California at Berkeley. One side of the core is expanding quicker than the other, and scientists haven't figured out why yet. The discovery assisted scientists in determining the age of the inner core and will be used to study Earth's magnetic field, as well as the running of the metallic inner core.
This new information will be quite helpful to geologists, seismologists and physicists. The core's speed of movement is about 2 millimeters a year, however scientists discovered that the eastern side of the core is expanding at over 4 millimeters per year.
"They are changing quite fast, faster than anybody thought they would. This is a moderately large chunk of iron alloys that are rotating around slightly different axes to each other," said Richard L. Carlson, lead author of the study published in Science Magazine.
The composition of the Earth's core is very different than the rest of the planet. The inner core is mostly made up of iron, while the outer core has large amounts of nickel and lighter elements. It is thought that when the Earth was first created, it had a lot more heat in its center than it does today. Because of this heat, the Earth's elements were able to separate into these distinct layers.
Scientists think that due to its rotation and magnetic field, there is a very strong dynamo effect that results in the flow of electric current within the core. This process generates a strong magnetic field around our planet, keeping us safe from charged particles streaming toward us from space.
Everything you need to know about Earth's inner core's uneven growth:
The inner core of our planet was not always solid. For billions of years, it was made up of molten material that eventually froze and solidified. This process took about half a billion years, according to experts.
The Earth's inner core has been growing unevenly since the start, with one side outgrowing the other. The core is growing faster along the equator, which means that it's also growing slightly larger in diameter.
A new model estimates that the asymmetric expansion varies by a millimeter each year on average. The geodynamic growth and physical characteristics of iron at high pressure and temperature were used to create the model.
Scientists suggest that something has appeared in this region under the Earth’s mantle or in the outer core that removes heat more than on the opposite side. This accelerates the crystallization of molten iron.
Isn't it likely that the core and our planet, at some point, would change shape as a result of this? No, because gravity distributes the crystals uniformly throughout the center and maintains its spherical form.
However, this oddity has the potential to wreak havoc on the planet's magnetic field. The system for creating it begins to function as a result of heat release from the inner core.
Finally, changes in the magnetic field can compromise the shielding against harmful solar particles.
Earth's inner core has been there for about 0.5-1.5 billion years, according to the new models, according to researchers.
Although the core's present form dates back only to recently, Earth's magnetic field has been in existence for approximately 3 billion years. Studying the transformation shapes will assist us determine how the magnetic field functioned prior to the planet's solid inner core developing as it does not now.
Our planet's magnetic field was previously far weaker, according to some scientists. It might have begun as a result of lighter elements dissolving and not developing strong before the molten material in the core solidified.
The magnetic field is what protects our planet from the sun's radiation. Earth would not be able to sustain life without it, scientists say.
The strength of the magnetic field is thought to be decreasing at a rate which is likely to cause noticeable changes in about 2,000 years. If it gradually weakens by 20%, our planet would be inundated with cosmic radiation capable of wiping out life on Earth.
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