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February 21, 2011

New Evidence about the Earth's Core Rotation

As we learned in class, the Earth consists of many different layers: the crust, mantle, and core. Scientists have known for a long time that the Earth's core rotates, similiar to how Earth rotates along its axis. However, new evidence has indicated that the core rotation is not as fast as previously thought. Using seismic body waves (similiar to how scientists determined the composition of the Earth's layers) they have discovered that the core moves faster than Earth's rotation by 1 degree every 1 000 000 years and NOT by 1 degree a year.
This has given astronomers more confidence in determining the rate at which our planet's core cools and to extrapolate this information as to how our planet's magnetic field (which is very much influenced by Earth's core) will evolve with time.

The full article is here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1359101/Earths-core-rotates-slower-thought-faster-rest-planet.html#

Posted by jeffkong at February 21, 2011 06:29 PM


I never considered that the core could move at a different pace than Earth itself; however, after learning a little about Earth's layers and now thinking about the composition of each, this concept makes sense. But I do not understand how previous scientists were so far off in the first place. If this new discovery was made through seismic body waves, what method did previous scientists implement?

Posted by: ccastel at February 21, 2011 09:07 PM

I also never considered the fact that the core could move at a different rate than the Earth itself. However, as discussed in class it is important that we know how fast our planet is cooling in order to figure out how long the geological activity will be able to occur because geological activity it is driven by the interior heat of the planet.

Posted by: rmousigi at February 21, 2011 09:13 PM

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