Scientists discover that the inner core of the Earth is growing unevenly

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Structure of planet Earth in space, 3D rendering

No: the core of the Earth is not perfectly symmetrical, and that will affect the nature of our magnetic field in the long term.

We don’t know a lot about the Earth’s core is because it cannot be sampled. Located 5,000 meters below the surface, the information we have is the result of centuries of seismological and geophysical observation. Even today, all we have are models of their behavior. However, a recent study from Cambridge and Bristol, in the United Kingdom, assures that it is growing at uneven rates. This is the reason.

The core of the Earth is not spherical

Earth core structure with geological layers

Unlike what we were taught in school, the Earth is not exactly spherical. Rather, it has ridges, peaks, and valleys that make our planet seem perfect blue ball from space. Seen another way, the representations we have of its layers are not exact but are for illustrative purposes only. However, this is not exactly the case. The same trend seems to be replicating within him.

Jessica Irving, a Bristol seismologist, writes in her article for The Conversation,  “The core of the Earth was formed very early in the 4.5 billion years of our planet’s history.” It took only 200 million years before the center of our planet finished taking shape. Gravity dragged iron into the heart of the young planet, leaving lighter minerals – such as silicate – to form the crust and mantle.

The formation of the Earth captured a lot of heat inside it. However, it has been lost in the course of its natural history. This is not necessarily negative: on the contrary, it favored the formation of our magnetic field, which protects us from solar storms and allows life as we know it. Most likely, according to British scientists, it will not be like this forever.

A planet without a magnetic field?

Earth's core, artwork

Even though this thermal energy is losing over time, the Earth’s core continues to grow. In the same way, it continues to cool down over the millennia. Irving assures, based on his study published in Nature Geoscience, that this will have a definite impact on the forms of life that exist on our planet since it will cause alterations in our magnetic field.

With the gradual loss of heat, the core of the Earth has crystallized for millions of years. Our earlier understanding of this structure as spherical led us to believe that it grew and cooled at the same uniform rate. However, this is not the case: as it is not a perfect ball, it cools and grows unevenly. For this reason, in different regions, it presents different seismic waves.

The team of British scientists explains it in terms of what happens to ice cream that is left in the freezer:

“This uneven growth is like making ice cream in a freezer that only works on one side: ice crystals form only on the side of the ice cream where cooling is effective. On Earth, uneven growth is due to the planet absorbing heat more quickly in some parts of the inner core than in others ”.

Despite this, our planet is not in danger of capsizing. What is very likely to happen, in billions of years, is that we will lose our magnetic feild since the nature of the Earth’s core is changing. The more solid it becomes, the less we will have this natural coating, which protects us from the Sun and its energy storms.

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