Research

Inside Earth’s Core

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Without our magnetic field, life as we know it could not exist on Earth. Instead, our atmosphere would be stripped away and the surface would be bombarded by charged particles in the solar wind. Relatively little is known about the dynamo process that governs our magnetic field, though it’s thought to be the result of liquid iron moving in the Earth’s outer core. The video above shows a slice of a recent 3D simulation of this liquid iron segment of our core. The colors show variations in the temperature, revealing vigorous convection in the core. This motion, combined with the spinning of the Earth, is the likely source of our magnetic field. Researchers hope that simulations like these can help us understand features we observe in our magnetic field – like local variations in field strength and the pole reversals in our geological record. (Video credit: N. Schaeffer et al.; CNRS via Gizmodo)

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