Austin (KXAN) — Breaking news: In a new study published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience, scientists announced what they believe the Earth’s inner core has stopped spinning.
Scientists Yi Yang and Xiaodong Song of Peking University published a paper. They observed changes in the length of the Earth’s day and magnetic field, which, they said, meant changes in the layers of the Earth.
Based on seismic observations from 1964 to the 1990s, the pair stated in their paper that they believe the inner core is going through “roughly a seventy-year oscillation”. Essentially, the inner core slows down and then spins in the opposite direction every seventy years.
Song helped discover that the nucleus is spinning in a study published in 1996. He discovered this while studying the seismic waves generated by earthquakes. The nucleus itself was discovered in 1936.
The kernel stops! We all die?
In the end, yes, but not because of this. According to the study, this slowdown and reversal is a natural part of the core cycle.
The core, according to the researchers, probably “paused” its rotation in the last decade. Now he can return. The slowdown was discovered when viewing seismic data from the 1970s to the present. According to the study, the core slowed down the most in 2009.
This change may help explain changes in sea level and day length approximately every 70 years.
“Interestingly, the same multi-decadal periodicity is well observed in the Earth’s climate system, especially in global average temperature and sea level rise,” the scientists say in the article.
Why is the Earth’s core spinning?
Differences between the mantle, outer core and inner core cause the core to spin, according to the study.
The inner core is about 70% of the moon’s radius and is thought to be mostly iron. Considered solid.
The outer core is liquid. It is made of iron and nickel and is very hot. The core temperature is believed to be 9800 degrees Fahrenheit.
We know a little more about the Earth’s mantle. It makes up 84% of the Earth’s volume. It is mostly solid, but acts like caramel, according to NASA.
The paper states that as the outer core cools, it merges with the inner core. During this transition, heat is released, generating the Earth’s magnetic field. This, plus the gravity of the mantle, causes the inner core to rotate.