Seismologists have reported that the Earth ‘s inner core is changing the way it spins. Do not be alarmed: there is no danger to humans.
Scientists have determined that the Earth ‘s core , after brief pauses, has been changing the way it has rotated for years.
The seismologists, who published the research in Nature Geoscience , point out that the Earth is going through a big change internally, but also reminded that there is no real danger to humanity
What is happening in the Earth’s core?
The inner core is like “a planet within a planet, so the way it moves is obviously very important,” said Xiaodong Song, a seismologist at Peking University in Beijing and an author of the study.
In 1936, the Danish seismologist Inge Lehmann discovered that the Earth ‘s liquid outer core envelops ‘a solid metal marble’. Scientists believe the core crystallized out of a soup of molten metal sometime in Earth ‘s not too distant past , after the planet’s inner hell had cooled sufficiently.
The inner core cannot be sampled directly, but energetic seismic waves emanating from powerful earthquakes and nuclear weapons tests have ventured through the inner core , illuminating some of its properties. Scientists suspect that this ball, made mostly of iron and nickel, is 2,449 kilometers long and as hot as the surface of the Sun.
For the researchers, if the nucleus were inert, the trips of the waves that plunge into the nucleus from nearly identical earthquakes and nuclear explosions would never change; however, over time, they do.
For the same reason, they theorize that the nucleus is rotating, diverting the waves. For one, Earth ‘s magnetic field , generated by swirling iron currents in the liquid outer core, is pulling on the inner core, causing it to spin. That momentum is counteracted by the mantle, the layer above the outer core and below the Earth’s crust, whose immense gravitational field traps the inner core and slows its spin.
Now it’s turning backwards
In the midst of this study of seismic waves since the 1960s, the seismologists who authored the study postulate that the clash of forces has caused the inner core to rotate back and forth on a 70-year cycle.
Since 1970, the inner core has gradually rotated faster to the east, eventually exceeding the rate of rotation of the Earth ‘s surface . Subsequently, the spin of the inner core slowed until it appeared to stop sometime between 2009 and 2011.
The inner core is now beginning to gradually turn west relative to the Earth ‘s surface . It is likely to speed up and then slow down once more, coming to another apparent standstill in the 2040s and completing its last cycle of turning east and west.
Will it have a consequence on humanity? No. According to the scientists, “it may only cause subtle changes in the planet’s magnetic field, or even very slightly change the length of a day, which is known to increase and decrease by a fraction of a millisecond every six years .