- Posted March 3, 2013 by
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'Earth's inner core melting 2013'
"The standard view has been that the inner core is freezing all over and growing out progressively, but it appears that there are regions where the core is actually melting," says researcher Sebastian Rost.
The Earth's inner core is a ball of solid iron about 1,500 miles wide, about the same size as the moon. This ball is surrounded by an outer core made up mostly of liquid iron-nickel alloy, a highly viscous mantle layer and, topping it off, a solid crust that forms the surface of the planet.
The inner core of the Earth, which is believed to be growing about one millimetre per year, may be melting, scientists have claimed.
Signs of Earth's inner core is melting increasingly active volcanoes, Earth's magnetic field weakened, many earthquakes occur, many storms occur, the surface of the earth is getting warmer and flip Earth's magnetic field.
According to researchers at the University of Leeds in England, this melting could actually be linked to activity on the Earth's surface and the findings could help explain how the core generates the planet's magnetic field.
The 2,400km wide inner core which is a ball of solid iron about the same size of the moon is surrounded by an outer core made up mostly of liquid iron-nickel alloy, a highly viscous mantle layer and, topping it off, a solid crust that forms the surface of the planet.
As the Earth cools from the inside out, it is believed that the molten outer core is slowly freezing, leading the inner core to grow at a rate of about one millimetre per year.
"The standard view has been that the inner core is freezing all over and growing, but it appears that there are regions where the core is actually melting," said Sebastian Rost, a seismologist who led the research.
"The net flow of heat from core to mantle ensures that there's still overall freezing of outer core material and it's still growing over time, but by no means is this a uniform process," he was quoted as saying by LiveScience.
As the Earth's interior cools, relatively hot and cold matter churns around inside the planet a process known as convection. The roiling of material in the core, coupled with the spinning of the Earth, is what generates the planet's magnetic field, the scientists said.