Internet is taken by storm after discovery of this river of molten iron river. Deep below our earth’s surface the temperature is quite close to that of suns.
The vast jet stream some 420 kilometers wide has trebled in speed since 2000, and is now circulating westwards at between 40 and 45 kilometers per year deep under Siberia and heading towards beneath Europe. That is three times faster than typical speeds of liquid in the outer core.
No one knows yet why the jet has got faster, but the team that discovered the accelerating jet thinks it is a natural phenomenon that dates back as much as a billion years, and can help us understand the formation of Earth’s magnetic fields that keeps us safe from solar winds.
“It’s a remarkable discovery,” says Phil Livermore of the University of Leeds, UK, who led the team. “We’ve known that the liquid core is moving around, but our observations haven’t been sufficient until now to see this significant jet.”
How was this discovered?
The discovery of the jet involved tracking two massive but unusually strong lobes of magnetic flux originating from the core-mantle boundary, situated beneath Canada and Siberia respectively, but moving with the flow of the molten iron. Because their motion could originate only from the physical movement of molten iron, the lobes served as markers, allowing the researchers to track the flow of iron.
Earth’s Magnetic field is weakening
Earth’s magnetic field seems to have been weakening, especially since around 1840, at about 5 per cent per century. The magma stream should help geophysicists predict more accurately if and when the magnetic field of the planet’s core will flip, and the magnetic north and south poles trade places, which happens every few thousand years.
Other geophysicists agree. “The more we understand the core’s behavior at various time and spatial scales, the more we can hope to understand the beginnings, renewal and future of our magnetic field,” says William Brown of the British Geological Survey’s geomagnetism team.