Scientists Say Earth’s Inner Core May Have Stopped Rotating, Could Go Into Reverse

earth inner core


A new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience suggests that the inner core of the Earth may have stopped spinning.

The scientists who conducted the study also believe that the Earth’s inner core could start rotating in reverse.

For those that are unfamiliar, the Earth’s core is approximately the size of the planet Mars and is made up of mostly liquid iron alloyed with nickel.

The inner or central part of the core, however, is solid iron.

The outer core is somewhere between 6,700 to 8,500 degrees Fahrenheit, while the inner core is between 8,500 to12,100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is comparable to the temperature of the surface of the sun.

structure of earth inner core


Yi Yang, associate research scientist at Peking University, and Xiaodong Song, Peking University chair professor, state in their research paper that data from the 1960s to 2009 was used to infer how fast the inner core had been spinning.

However, since 2009, there has been little change in that speed, leading them to believe the inner core has stopped its rotation.

“We show surprising observations that indicate the inner core has nearly ceased its rotation in the recent decade and may be experiencing a turning-back,” the researchers wrote.

Hrvoje Tkalcic, a geophysicist at the Australian National University, who was not involved in the study, throws a bit of cold water on their findings.

“The inner core doesn’t come to a full stop,” he told CNN. It just “means that the inner core is now more in sync with the rest of the planet than a decade ago when it was spinning a bit faster.”

“Nothing cataclysmic is happening,” he claimed, while admitting that the study’s “data analysis is sound.”

On the other hand…

Song and Yang argue that, based on their calculations, a small imbalance in the electromagnetic and gravitational forces could slow and even reverse the inner core’s rotation. They believe this is part of a seven-decade cycle, and that the turning point prior to the one they detected in their data around 2009/2010 occurred in the early 1970s.

Both Tkalcic, as well as the authors of the study, agree that more research is still needed before making any further conclusions.

“You can think of seismologists like medical doctors who study the internal organs of patients’ bodies using imperfect or limited equipment,” said Tkalcic. “So, despite progress, our image of the inner Earth is still blurry, and we are still in the discovery stage.”

CUNY Professor of Theoretical Physics Michio Kaku spoke to CNN about what this all means and whether or not we should be worried.

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Before settling down at BroBible, Douglas Charles, a graduate of the University of Iowa (Go Hawks), owned and operated a wide assortment of websites. He is also one of the few White Sox fans out there and thinks Michael Jordan is, hands down, the GOAT.