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Earth’s inner core may have stopped turning; Here’s what it means

The inner core of Earth is about the size of Mars and has a radius of around 2,200 miles. It’s composed of nickel and iron, and it contains around a third of Earth’s mass.

Earth’s inner core may have stopped turning; Here’s what it means
The inner core's rotation is influenced by the magnetic field produced by the outer core.

New research about Earth’s composition hints at startling revelations! The Earth’s inner core might have stopped rotating, which could lead to it going into reverse.

The Earth is composed of the inner, outer, and crust layers, as well as the mantle and semi-solid mantle. Its solid inner core is located around 3,200 miles beneath the Earth’s crust. This section is separated from the mantle by the outer core, which helps the inner core rotate at a different rate.

The inner core of Earth is about the size of Mars and has a radius of around 2,200 miles. It’s composed of nickel and iron, and it contains around a third of Earth’s mass.

In a study published in Nature Geoscience, Yi Yang and Xiaodong Song of Peking University analyzed the seismic waves that have been generated by powerful earthquakes that have affected the inner core of Earth. They were able to calculate the inner core’s rotation rate.

The researchers found that the inner core’s rotation rate had stopped. Data from 2009 showed that the seismic waves did not change. According to Song, the decade from 1980 to 1990 had shown a clear change, but from 2010 to 2020, the changes were not significant.

The inner core’s rotation is influenced by the magnetic field produced by the outer core. Knowing how it spins could provide insight into the various processes that occur within the Earth’s layers.

The exact rotation of the inner core is a bit unclear. Hrvoje Tkalcic is a geophysicist at Australia’s National University.

According to Hrvoje, the study’s findings show that the inner core continues to function properly. It shows that the planet’s inner structure is now in sync with its surroundings.

In his book, Tkalcic states that the inner core has a rotation cycle that’s around 20 to 30 years. He explained how these variations can occur and why it’s so hard to understand what goes on in the planet’s innermost layers.

Geophysical inference methods are used to determine the properties of Earth. However, until more studies confirm their findings, caution should be exercised.

For seismologists, like medical doctors who examine the internal organs of a patient using only limited equipment, the Earth’s interior remains blurry.

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First published on: 28-01-2023 at 15:10 IST