Earth’s core has stopped spinning and may be changing direction. What happens now?
Unless we are jolted by violent eddies or crushing fault lines in the form of earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, we don’t feel what’s going on beneath the planet’s surface. A new study has now revealed that Earth’s inner core recently stopped spinning and then reversed its spin orientation.
The study, published in Nature Geoscience, suggests a globally consistent pattern of intra-central circulation that has recently been suspended. The cycle came to a grinding halt in 2009 and then surprisingly turned in the opposite direction. Researchers have long believed that the inner core oscillates back and forth relative to Earth’s surface like a pendulum.
“The seven-decade cycle of a swing reverses direction approximately every 35 years. It reversed direction in the early 1970s, and the next face is predicted to be in the mid-2040s,” said researchers in Beijing, China. The university reported to AFP.
Earth’s inner core was first discovered in 1936, as researchers studied seismic waves from earthquakes traveling across the planet. This is the transformation of the waves that revealed the Earth’s core, which is 7000 kilometers wide and has a solid core of iron surrounded by a shell of liquid iron.
A 1996 study in Nature found that the travel time of seismic waves traveling through the Earth’s inner core has shown a small but systematic variation over the past three decades. This variation is best explained by the rotation of the inner core and the rotation rate is 1° per year faster than the diurnal rotation of the mantle and crust.
A team from Peking University analyzed earthquakes between 1995 and 2021, and the analysis revealed that the core stopped rotating in 2009 and may be in the process of reversing its rotation direction.
What is happening now?
The researchers said that the rotation of the core is related to changes in the length of the day, leading to slight variations in the exact time it takes the Earth to rotate on its axis, and connections between the various layers. Planet – Crust, Mantle and Core.
The team said the observations provide evidence for dynamic interactions between Earth’s layers, from the deep interior to the surface, due to gravitational coupling and the transfer of angular momentum from the core and mantle to the surface.
“We hope that our study will encourage some researchers to develop and test models that treat the entire Earth as a unified dynamic system,” they said, adding that there is no evidence yet to suggest that the spin shift will affect living populations. The surface of the planet.