Scientists say Earth’s inner core has changed the direction of its rotation

A new study has released findings which suggest that The Earth’s core may have stopped spinning or could be spinning backwards.

The earth’s core is made up of an outer layer of liquid metal, and an inner core of solid metal which is approximately 70% of the size of the moon.

General belief is that the core rotates counterclockwise when viewed from the North Pole, this is consistent with the rest of each.

A recent study which analysis seismic wave data over the past 60 years by researchers at Peking University in China believes that the core’s rotation stopped around the year 2009, and has since started spinning in the opposite direction.

“We think that the core is, relative to the surface of the Earth, rotating in one direction and then the other, like a swing,” Xiaodong Song and Yi Yang, the study authors, told AFP.

A complete cycle (in one direction and then the other) of this swing is about 70 years, the study went onto say.

According to the authors of the study, the last rotation change before 2009 would have taken place in the early 1970s, and the next one should occur around about 2040.

The earth’s core remains a heavily debated topic as information can be difficult to come by.

The epidermis of the Earth’s core meets the mantle at a depth of approximately 2,890 km, and this outer core is thought to be made of liquid iron and nickel.

The Earth’s inner core starts at roughly 5,000 km below the surface of the planet and is thought o  to be made of solid iron and nickel, this is largely due to the intense pressure forcing the atoms of the metal to pack together.

The inner core is located within the liquid outer core and experts believe it has been rotating in the same direction as the rest of Earth, based on analysis of seismic waves, which were caused by earthquakes.

Xiaodong Song and Yi Yang analyzed these seismic waves and found an associated “gradual turning-back of the inner core as part of an approximately seven-decade oscillation”. Their paper is published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

“This is a very cautious study carried out by excellent scientists who used a lot of data,” said John Vidale, a seismologist at the University of Southern California who was not involved in the research.

Vidale went onto say that “none of the existing models really explains all the available data well”.




The following two tabs change content below.
Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

Leave a Reply