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New Research May Solve a Mystery of Earth’s Magnetic Field That Has Puzzled Scientists for Nearly a Century
Science & Technology

New Research May Solve a Mystery of Earth’s Magnetic Field That Has Puzzled Scientists for Nearly a Century

Earths Core Magnetosphere

Physicists Clarify Why Adjustments to Earth’s Magnetic Field Are Weaker Over the Pacific

A brand new examine by College of Alberta physicists offers a proof for why modifications to Earth’s magnetic area over time are weaker over the Pacific area—a thriller scientists have been making an attempt to resolve for almost a century.

“That is one thing that has been a puzzle for the reason that Nineteen Thirties when it was first seen,” mentioned geophysicist Mathieu Dumberry, lead creator of the examine. 

Like winds within the ambiance or currents within the ocean, there are fluid motions within the liquid core of the Earth, Dumberry defined. These core flows generate and preserve the Earth’s magnetic area, which supplies us the Northern Lights and shields us from charged particles from house. Scientists mannequin the magnetic area for a selection of functions, together with figuring out your orientation while you take a look at a map in your smartphone.

“Core flows are weaker below the Pacific and in addition function a planetary-scale present that hangs near the equator within the Atlantic area, however then is deflected to larger latitude within the Pacific area,” mentioned Dumberry. “However why is that? That is the half that was not understood.”

Trying on the area may also give new perception into the core flows that create it, Dumberry mentioned.

College of Alberta geophysicist Mathieu Dumberry led a new examine that will clarify why modifications to Earth’s protecting magnetic area are weaker over the Pacific—a puzzling phenomenon scientists have been making an attempt to determine since first observing it within the Nineteen Thirties. Credit score: John Ulan

“Our clarification entails {the electrical} conductivity of the lowermost mantle,” mentioned Dumberry. “We present that if the conductance of the lowermost mantle is larger below the Pacific than elsewhere on the planet, and this bigger ‘magnetic friction’ weakens the native core flows, it additionally deflects the primary planetary present circulate away from the Pacific area because it avoids the area of larger conductance, resulting in smaller modifications within the Earth’s magnetic area within the area.”

Dumberry famous the mannequin poses new questions concerning the make-up of the core-mantle boundary area and what it could possibly inform us about different areas on Earth.

“Our examine highlights that the core-mantle boundary area is sort of heterogeneous. The conductance of the lowermost mantle is likely not uniform across the globe,” he mentioned. 

“We hope that our outcomes will encourage geophysicists to additional examine the potential variations between the Pacific area and elsewhere on the core-mantle boundary.”

The examine, “Weak Magnetic Field Adjustments Over the Pacific Attributable to Excessive Conductance in Lowermost Mantle,” was printed in Nature Geoscience.

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Reference: “Weak Magnetic Field Adjustments Over the Pacific Attributable to Excessive Conductance in Lowermost Mantle” by Mathieu Dumberry and Colin Extra, 29 June 2020, Nature Geoscience.

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