Latest Issue of Science News


News

Eddies in the deep Earth

Blips in the Earth's magnetic field are windows to the planet's interior

The flow of molten material in our planet’s outer core is the prime source of Earth’s magnetic field. That flow can fluctuate rapidly over large areas, recent data suggest, so geophysical models that estimate how the magnetic field evolves over time should account for such variations.

Earth’s outer core, a molten mix of iron and other metals that is no more viscous than water, flows at an average speed of about 20 kilometers per year. Because that material contains charged particles, its flow produces the planet’s magnetic field, says Nils Olsen, a geophysicist at the DanishNationalSpaceCenter in Copenhagen.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.