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The rotation of Earth’s inner core is actually slowing down

A new study has confirmed that the rotation of Earth’s inner core is actually slowing down, raising questions about what’s going on at the planet’s center and how it might affect us. Researchers led by a team from the University of Southern California (USC) believe that this change in the spin of the nucleus could change the length of our days; There will be no need to reset, even if only for a few fractions of a second. your hours.

“When I first saw the seismograms indicating this change, I was confused,” says USC Earth scientist John Vidale. “But when we found two dozen more observations pointing to the same pattern, the conclusion was inevitable.

“The inner core has slowed down for the first time in decades. Other scientists have recently advocated similar and different models, but our latest work offers the most convincing solution.”

seismic waves
Researchers tracked seismic waves around the world. (Wang et al., Nature 2024)

The inner core is a super-hot, super-dense ball of iron and nickel that is believed to be about two-thirds the size of the Moon. Located more than 3,000 miles (or just over 4,800 kilometers) below our feet, this object is a difficult object to study; But studying its properties can teach us a lot about the history of our planet.

In this study, Vidale and colleagues analyzed data from 121 repeated earthquakes recorded between 1991 and 2023 around the South Sandwich Islands in the South Atlantic. They also included data from various nuclear tests. Each of these events caused a significant resonance on the planet.

layers of the earth
Charts showing different layers down to the Earth’s core. (USC)

By imaging how these waves speed up, slow down, and interact, researchers can estimate the position and motion of the inner core. The team speculates that the apparent drift relative to the surface, which appears to have begun around 2010, may be due to the constant motion of the liquid iron outer core that creates Earth’s magnetic field, or gravity.

As for what this means: We really don’t know. Velocity changes, reversals, and oscillations in the inner core are not unusual, so there is no sign that we will encounter an apocalyptic disaster like something we might see in a science fiction movie. We may experience minor changes during the day and night, but they are very slight.

“[Це] “It would be very difficult to see getting lost in the noise of the turbulent oceans and atmosphere for almost a thousandth of a second,” says Vidale.

What we can say for sure is that the research adds to our understanding of the mysteries of the geological depths, and that the rotation of the Earth’s inner core is something scientists will continue to monitor closely.

“The dance of the inner core may be much more vibrant than we know so far,” says Vidale. The study was published on: Nature.

Source: Port Altele



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