Monday, July 22, 2024

Earth’s inner core is slowing down for the first time in decades

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This change, which occurs periodically on our planet, does not affect life on the surface because at most it can only subtract a thousandth of a second from a day.

he Earth’s core It’s one of the great unknowns of science. We know where it is, what it’s made of, and also some of how it works. But there is still a lot to know about this part of Earth, which is essential for life on our planet, including how it moves. A study published by the magazine nature Regarding the movement of the nucleus, it is seen that at this time it is slower than the movement of the Earth’s mantle.

This research directly clashes with what he conducted a few months ago Peking UniversityWhich stated the opposite. The differences between the scientists themselves show how difficult it is to study the Earth’s core, located at an inaccessible depth of 5,000 kilometers. A place where pressure and high temperatures can kill us instantly. a Iron and nickel core The size of the moon, which consists of the inner core, where these minerals are in a solid state, and the outer core, where they are in a liquid state.

What we do know is that both nuclei move, and they do so independently of the movement of the Earth’s crust. The study, conducted by the University of Southern California and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, shows that the nucleus has been slowing down since 2010. This is something, according to the research co-author. John Vidalhappening for the first time in 40 years.

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“When I first saw the seismograms indicating this change, I was astounded,” Vidal says in a press release. “But when we found twenty other observations pointing to the same pattern, the result was undeniable. The inner core had slowed down for the first time in many decades. Other scientists have recently argued for similar and different models, but our latest study provides “the most convincing resolution,” he says.

Vidal believes that the deceleration results from friction between the outer and inner core, which move at different speeds. Thanks to this process, the Earth is born Electromagnetic field Which protects our planet from solar radiation and without which life cannot exist.

The effects this change could have on life on the surface are harmless according to the little scientific knowledge we have on the subject. Vidal explains that it can affect All days longBut in a small way. “It’s very difficult to notice, on the order of a millisecond, almost lost in the noise of the ocean and the turbulent atmosphere,” he says of the change.

To reach these conclusions, scientists use earthquake data. Thanks to the bouncing of seismic waves in the core, they can develop a theory about its movement. In this study, seismic data were collected from 143 pairs of identical earthquakes produced in South Sandwich Islands Between 1991 and 2023.

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