Monday, June 23, 2008

Earth's Molten Core Anything But Stable

Deep beneath your feet (a few thousand kilometers), the molten part of the Earth's core (there's a solid part in the middle) is moving "surprisingly quickly," reports ScienceDaily. This according to scientists studying info from the Orsted magnetometer, a satellite that measures changes in the Earth's magnetic field (which is affected by currents at the core).

Unfortunately, there's no deeper insight here. For example, that a shift in our magnetic poles could change overnight due to a sudden shift in the molten core's flow. However, Pound360 was fascinated to be reminded the Earth isn't just a giant stone.

Let's check out the image bellow (courtesy of Wikipedia contributor Drake).

In addition to the solid metal core (6) and liquid molten core (5), there's a lower (4) and upper (5) mantle. While the mantel is technically rock, according to Wikipedia, the lower section is under so much pressure that "it can flow on very long timescales." Ultimately, this flow is what brings us plate tectonics.




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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.