The Earth’s inner core is the mysterious, fiery heart of our dear planet. It’s like the engine room of a giant spaceship, driving the rotation of the entire vessel through the vast expanse of space. And just like any good engine room, it’s always spinning, spinning, spinning!
It’s like a giant, molten ball of metal doing the tango with itself. Imagine trying to spin a basketball on your finger, but instead of a basketball, it’s a massive ball of iron and nickel weighing in at around a trillion trillion pounds, and instead of spinning on your finger, it’s spinning on its own axis. Now that’s some interesting spinning!
The Earth’s inner core has been spinning slower since 2009
The Earth’s inner core, a fiery ball of solid iron, is like a ticking time bomb of energy deep beneath the surface, driving the rotation of the planet, and generating the magnetic field that protects us from solar winds. However, a recent study suggests that this ticking time bomb has hit the snooze button for a while, slowing down its rotation around 2009, according to The Washington Post.
This finding, published in Nature Geoscience, is shaking up the scientific community’s understanding of the core and its influence on the Earth’s magnetic field and length of day.
The study, led by Xiaodong Song at Peking University, used seismic waves from earthquakes to peek into the inner core’s movements and found that the inner core’s slowing down may be part of a 70-year cycle of speeding up and slowing down.
But why does the Earth’s inner core spin, you may ask? Well, it all has to do with the Earth’s magnetic field. You see, the inner core is made up of solid metal, while the outer core is liquid. As the liquid outer core spins, it creates a dynamo effect, generating the Earth’s magnetic field. And just like a top that’s been given a good spin, the inner core keeps on spinning, spinning, spinning!