Science

The inner core of the earth has probably stopped rotating

A Chinese study shows that the Earth’s inner core has apparently stopped moving. This could affect the length of the day.

Beijing – Scientists who research the earth sometimes don’t have it easy. For examining the interior of the earth whenever they use, for example, seismic waves that move through the different layers of the earth during an earthquake. From these observations we know that there is a solid core in the interior of the earth surrounded by a liquid outer core. The earth’s magnetic field is created in this liquid core, which protects the planet from radiation from space, for example.

The inner core of the earth can move independently of the rotation of the earth because it is surrounded by the liquid core. Thanks to decades of exploration of the Earth’s interior using seismic waves, researchers assume that the inner core of the Earth vibrates – sometimes it rotates one way, then the other. Now shows a study in the journal nature geosciences published that the movement of the Earth’s inner core appears to have stopped.

Surprising find: Earth’s core has apparently stopped rotating

The fact that the earth’s core has apparently stopped rotating is a surprising finding, agrees seismologist Jon Vidale, who was not involved in the study. Opposite the portal The opposite he explains: “The interesting thing for me is that we see all the complexity here at the surface of the earth. There might also be some interesting things that we don’t yet understand about this inner core boundary.”

Chinese researchers Yi Yang and Xiaodon Song from Beijing University look at seismic data from the 1990s and 2000s for their study. They were reportedly interested in seismic doublets – pairs of earthquakes that were almost the same magnitude at the same location at different times. The last year by researchers and stellar notes, which occurred in earthquakes between 1995 and 2008, was well received by the late 2009 and 2020 years. The researchers then concluded that the Earth’s inner core appeared to have stopped moving around 2009.

The core of the earth apparently changes direction every 30 years

After looking at seismic data from the 1960s and 1970s, the two researchers found that the Earth’s core appears to oscillate over a 70-year period, changing direction about every 30 years. The researchers’ thesis: the inner core rotated in one direction, paused and reversed until the early 1970s. This phenomenon is apparently happening now: the earth’s core stops and rotates in the other direction.

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According to researcher Song, the inner core of the Earth has been rotating eastwards since the early 1970s – faster than the Earth. Around 2009 this rotation paused and is now reversing its direction. “If the oscillation model is correct, we expect the inner core to rotate more slowly than the surface by the mid-2040s,” Song explains in an email to The opposite.

The inner structure of the earth is complex. There is the inner solid core and therefore the liquid core. This is surrounded by the earth's mantle.
The inner structure of the earth is complex. There is the inner solid core and therefore the liquid core. This is surrounded by the earth’s mantle. © Imago

The two researchers also found that the days on Earth shorten by 0.01 milliseconds when the Earth’s inner core rotates in a westerly direction. If, on the other hand, it moves to the east – the direction in which the earth also rotates – a day lengthens by 0.12 milliseconds, both researchers die in their study. In fact, research has found that the earth is spinning faster. (Tab)

, The inner core of the earth has probably stopped rotating

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