According to a new study, the rotation of Earth’s deep core may have stalled and could potentially be reversing. The liquid outer core separates the semi-solid mantle from the solid inner core, which is located roughly 3,200 miles beneath the Earth’s crust.
The inner core is believed to rotate at a different pace than the Earth’s rotation and is propelled by the magnetic field created in the outer core and regulated by the gravitational influences of the mantle.
Yi Yang, an assistant research fellow at Peking University, and Xiaodong Song, chair professor at Peking University, studied seismic waves from earthquakes that passed through the Earth’s inner core along identical routes since the 1960s to determine the speed of the inner core’s rotation.
They found that the seismic data, which had previously changed over time, showed minimal variation since 2009, indicating that the inner core’s rotation had come to a halt.
However, Hrvoje Tkalcic, a geophysicist at Australian National University who was not involved in the study, said that the speed of the rotation and whether it fluctuates is debatable. He explained that the study’s findings suggest that the inner core is currently more in synchronization with the rest of the Earth than it was a decade earlier when it was rotating a bit faster.
The Peking University researchers agree that further research is needed to fully understand the implications of these findings.