Published On : January 30, 2023 by: Staff Writer/Category(s) : News
As per some recent Major studies, the Earth’s inner core which lies approximately 5000 km below the Earth’s surface just abruptly stopped and started spinning in the opposite direction.
Yes! The ‘opposite’ direction.
Now, what does it mean? How does it affect us? Is this an alarming issue? Should we be concerned? Guess we are about to find it all out.
The core of our planet is a sphere of nickel and iron about 2,400 kilometers in diameter, compressed by the force of gravity. The outermost layer of liquid iron and nickel forms Earth’s protective geomagnetic field, and beneath that are the layers of the mantle and the crust. Decades of research by geoscientists have revealed this structure of the inside of Earth. Here’s how it looks:
Layers of Earth
When it comes to the stability and magnetic field of our planet as a whole, the deepest layer is very vital. The Earth’s core is an integral component of the globe, despite its location far below the surface. Concerns have been raised, however, since research suggests it may have stopped and begun spinning in an alternative direction.
The research team carried out the investigation by studying seismic waves from earthquakes that had shaken the planet over the previous 60 years. The findings were reported in Nature Geoscience. The study’s authors, Xiaodong Song and Yi Yang of China’s Peking University found that in 2009, the Earth’s core stopped rotating and then reversed direction.
“We think the inner core spins, relative to the Earth’s surface, back and forth like a swing,” they said. They estimate that 70 years is the average length of a swing movement cycle. What this implies is that every 35 years the Earth’s core rotates anticlockwise. In the 1970s, it underwent a course correction, and another one may happen in the 2040s.
In spite of little evidence that this shift would have far-reaching consequences for surface-dwellers, scientists are certain that the planet’s many layers are all interconnected. However, independent experts have voiced concerns about the study’s conclusions since no existing models adequately account for all of the data.
This graph from the study shows the alteration of the core rotation rate since 1964 (purple and blue) and an inverted plot showing the alteration of the duration of a day on Earth since 1964. Credit: 2023, Yang, Y. et al/Nature Geoscience
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The Earth’s magnetic field is formed by the migration of liquid iron in the outer core, therefore if that motion were to stop, it would have a huge impact on the Earth’s magnetic field. This might increase the quantity of solar radiation reaching the surface, which could have negative effects on weather patterns, satellite, and electrical system operations.
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A shift in the rotation of Earth’s inner core is nothing to worry about, despite the fact that it may seem like the scenario of a science fiction catastrophe film. As long as Earth continues its orbit around the Sun, the core will continue to spin. Furthermore, when seen from a single point on Earth’s surface, the concept of the core rotating backward only makes sense.
In the worst case, we’ll only have somewhat longer days.
You see, one complete rotation of Earth on its axis takes around 86,400 seconds. The researchers graph shows that the core’s rotation varies by between 0.00023% and 0.00023% or two-tenths of a second slower or quicker. The apparent lengthening or shortening of the day due to this shift in rotation takes up no more than a few milliseconds.
It’s a shift that we wouldn’t even notice. However, scientists see them as monumental because of the insight they will provide into our planet’s behavior.
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