Earth’s core may have stopped and even changed direction, says this new study.
The Earth is composed of four main layers, starting with an inner core in the center of the planet, enveloped by the outer core, mantle, and at the very top is the crust. The inner core is a solid sphere made of iron and nickel metals with a radius of about 1,221 kilometers (about the distance from Florida to New York City), according to NASA. It is the inner layer of our planet and plays a vital role in maintaining the planet’s overall stability and magnetic field. Although it is located deep below the Earth’s surface, the core is an integral part of the planet. However, there may be cause for concern as an investigation suggests it may have stopped and started spinning in the opposite direction.
The team of researchers conducted the study by analyzing seismic waves from earthquakes that have shaken the Earth over the past 60 years. It was published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Researchers Xiaodong Song and Yi Yang of China’s Peking University, who were the authors of the study, found that the Earth’s core came to a standstill in 2009 and then started spinning in the opposite direction.
“We believe that the inner core, relative to the Earth’s surface, rotates back and forth, like a swing,” they told AFP. According to them, one swing cycle takes about 70 years. This means that the core of the Earth changes direction every 35 years. Previously, it changed direction in the 1970s and the next change could happen in the 2040s.
Although there is little evidence of a major impact of this change on the people living on the planet’s surface, the researchers believe that all layers of the planet are connected.
However, experts not involved in the study expressed concern about the findings, as none of the current models can properly explain all of the data.
What if the Earth’s inner core changes direction?
If Earth’s inner core were to change direction, it would likely have significant effects on the planet’s magnetic field, which is generated by the movement of liquid iron in the outer core. This could potentially lead to disruptions to weather patterns and satellite and power grid operations, as well as an increase in the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface.