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posted by janrinok on Tuesday June 08, @07:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the off-balance-Betteridge dept.

Is Earth's core lopsided? Strange goings-on in our planet's interior.:

For reasons unknown, Earth's solid-iron inner core is growing faster on one side than the other, and it has been ever since it started to freeze out from molten iron more than half a billion years ago, according to a new study by seismologists at the University of California, Berkeley.

The faster growth under Indonesia's Banda Sea hasn't left the core lopsided. Gravity evenly distributes the new growth — iron crystals that form as the molten iron cools — to maintain a spherical inner core that grows in radius by an average of 1 millimeter per year.

But the enhanced growth on one side suggests that something in Earth's outer core or mantle under Indonesia is removing heat from the inner core at a faster rate than on the opposite side, under Brazil. Quicker cooling on one side would accelerate iron crystallization and inner core growth on that side.

This has implications for Earth's magnetic field and its history, because convection in the outer core driven by release of heat from the inner core is what today drives the dynamo that generates the magnetic field that protects us from dangerous particles from the sun.

"We provide rather loose bounds on the age of the inner core — between half a billion and 1.5 billion years — that can be of help in the debate about how the magnetic field was generated prior to the existence of the solid inner core," said Barbara Romanowicz, UC Berkeley Professor of the Graduate School in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science and emeritus director of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory (BSL). "We know the magnetic field already existed 3 billion years ago, so other processes must have driven convection in the outer core at that time."

(...) Asymmetric growth of the inner core explains a three-decade-old mystery — that the crystallized iron in the core seems to be preferentially aligned along the rotation axis of the earth, more so in the west than in the east, whereas one would expect the crystals to be randomly oriented.

Evidence for this alignment comes from measurements of the travel time of seismic waves from earthquakes through the inner core. Seismic waves travel faster in the direction of the north-south rotation axis than along the equator, an asymmetry that geologists attribute to iron crystals — which are asymmetric — having their long axes preferentially aligned along Earth's axis.

Journal Reference:
Daniel A. Frost, Marine Lasbleis, Brian Chandler, et al. Dynamic history of the inner core constrained by seismic anisotropy, Nature Geoscience (DOI: 10.1038/s41561-021-00761-w)

Also at Nature


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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @08:49PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @08:49PM (#1143272)

    This means you'll have to eat the bugs, wear the mask, get the vaccine, live in pods, and become utter slaves to climate tax!

    China and India? Who cares what they do, Jewish politicians are profiting handsomely from them, so maybe we should just mind our own business instead. Don't forget your 2021 commemorative vaccine and climate change tattoos to show everybody else that you're fighting the good fight!

    • (Score: 0, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @09:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @09:40PM (#1143278)

      We're coming for your capital gains, Chuck! We are going to slave you, and if you don't like it, we will force you to wear a mask and be politically correct. And then we will restrain you, using the extra fine strainer we use for applesauce. And then, we will force you to understand the basics of science, logic, and ethics, by slaving you into college. And you will LIKE it, and you will thank us later, when you are better. Some of us are Jews, but all of us are Americans, and you are failing to live up to standards.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Freeman on Tuesday June 08, @09:43PM (1 child)

      by Freeman (732) on Tuesday June 08, @09:43PM (#1143281) Journal

      Too late! They've already started accustoming the public to pod spaces! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsule_hotel [wikipedia.org]

      --
      Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by shortscreen on Wednesday June 09, @12:09AM

        by shortscreen (2252) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09, @12:09AM (#1143331) Journal

        I was assuming most people already lived in pods. It's the only explanation for why they would be forced to get by with a smartphone instead of a real computer. Isn't it?

  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Tuesday June 08, @10:12PM (9 children)

    by looorg (578) on Tuesday June 08, @10:12PM (#1143293)

    We are such a second rate bargain basement planet. No wonder the other aliens just fly by and leave nothing but fuzzy images behind. Also if the planet is lopsided and a bit wonky does that have implication for the rotation? Are we spinning out of control?!

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @10:18PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @10:18PM (#1143295)

      Aliens should stay away... even #MonsterHarris says "Do not come. Do not come."

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @11:45PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @11:45PM (#1143325)

        Well duh, people over there [harriscountygop.com] are quite xenophobic.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @02:24AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @02:24AM (#1143397)

        I thought that was Stormy and/or Melania that said that.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @10:24PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @10:24PM (#1143297)

      we, the universe have been spinning out of control for 14b years or so [inverse.com]

      • (Score: 2) by looorg on Tuesday June 08, @10:36PM (2 children)

        by looorg (578) on Tuesday June 08, @10:36PM (#1143303)

        As long as the entire universe is wonky and spinning weirdly it might not matter then as long as we do it in sync with each other.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @10:42PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @10:42PM (#1143307)

          all the world is a stage...

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @02:05AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @02:05AM (#1143389)

            at first reading I saw "all the world is strange"

    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Wednesday June 09, @11:32AM

      by driverless (4770) on Wednesday June 09, @11:32AM (#1143487)

      No, it's designed that way, the core is a big.LITTLE design.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Wednesday June 09, @03:43PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09, @03:43PM (#1143555) Journal

      Vondak closed the report and put it on his desk. He reluctantly decided he must agree with the report's conclusions. After extensive studies and anal probing of humans, one thing was clear. Humans should never be approached to join, and indeed should never be made aware of the galactic federation.

      --
      Never use a needlessly simple solution to a problem when a much more complex solution would suffice.
  • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Wednesday June 09, @12:18AM (4 children)

    by shortscreen (2252) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09, @12:18AM (#1143334) Journal

    Earth's solid-iron inner core is growing faster on one side

    Gravity evenly distributes the new growth — iron crystals that form as the molten iron cools

    So... the growth is uneven, but it evens out again? What exactly is lopsided?

    something in Earth's outer core or mantle under Indonesia is removing heat from the inner core at a faster rate than on the opposite side, under Brazil

    Would this be related to Indonesia being in the Pacific ring of fire, and Brazil being just a boring landmass?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @12:58AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @12:58AM (#1143351)

      You don't mean to say that these scientists might just have overlooked the most obvious possibility do you?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @02:06AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @02:06AM (#1143390)

      Boring? You've just offended Brazilians around the world.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @12:20PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @12:20PM (#1143495)

      Would this be related to Indonesia being in the Pacific ring of fire, and Brazil being just a boring landmass?

      The 11km deep Mariana Trench probably also has a significant effect on the mantle temperature, although I'm not sure if that effect is significant deeper down.

    • (Score: 1) by ChrisRev on Wednesday June 09, @01:57PM

      by ChrisRev (8698) on Wednesday June 09, @01:57PM (#1143514)
      I read that as two different meanings of the word "growth":
      1. the process of growing that happens unevenly
      2. the mass of solid iron resulting from that process, getting subsequently evened out by gravity.

      The English language is indeed confusing.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @12:06PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @12:06PM (#1143492)

    We need to stop this planetary wide danger. It's growing every year! What can you do to stop planetary core imbalance:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD-ioJM8v64 [youtube.com]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @04:13PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @04:13PM (#1143564)

      Stop The Anneal!

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