Scientists have revealed that the inner core of the Earth will start spinning in the reverse direction soon. Although this idea might give us a mental image of an apocalyptic scenario, fret not. The spinning direction of the earth’s inner core rotation will definitely have an impact but it’s most likely to be safe. Read to find out if it’s true and how it will affect us in the future.

Latest study on inner core

The study was published in the Nature Geoscience journal under the title, Multidecadal variation of the Earth’s inner-core rotation. The authors are Yi Yang and Xiaodong Song.

Earth inner core spin reverse
Image courtesy of The Swaddle
  • According to the study, the earth’s inner core has actually stopped spinning. When the core stops its spin, it implies that the core is going to change direction.
  • The study’s most important takeaway is that the core spin reversal happens over a cycle of 70 years. A similar change happened in the 1970s and the next wing of the cycle will happen in the 2040s.
  • A few years ago, Xiaodong Song and seismologist Paul Richards confirmed that the Earth’s inner core can spin independently. 

How the Earth’s core spins

The inner core of the Earth spins at a slightly faster rate than the rest of the Earth. This phenomenon is known as differential rotation. This is caused by the combination of the Earth’s rotation and the solid inner core’s resistance to deformation. 

Image courtesy of Mashable
  • The faster rotation of the inner core is thought to contribute to the generation of the Earth’s magnetic field. This is vital for protecting the planet from harmful solar radiation.

Impact of reverse spin

The seven-decade oscillation of the Earth’s inner core coincides with changes in the planet’s magnetic and gravitational fields. This is interlinked with the theory that the length of each day is decreasing.

Earth core rotation
Image courtesy of Sci News
  • The current cycle of the inner core’s spin stopped around 2009 according to the study. The inner core will start spinning westward relative to the surface. The 70-year spin rhythm will impact only the Earth’s deeper viscera and subtle shifts to the magnetic field.

Earth’s inner core and layers

The earth’s structure consists of four main layers starting with the crust where we live. Below the crust is the mantle which makes up for most of the earth’s weight. 

  • The innermost layer is the core which consists of a liquid outer core and a solid inner core. The Earth’s inner core is a solid sphere of iron and nickel that is approximately 1,500 miles in diameter. 
  • The Earth’s inner core plays a crucial role in the planet’s overall stability and dynamics. It also plays a role in the Earth’s tectonics and the movement of the planet’s crust. 
  • Despite the most technological advancements in the world, the earth’s innermost core will never be accessible enough for appropriate study. 

The earth’s rotation is tracked by seismic wave readings from repeated earthquakes that happened through the inner core. What do you feel about the core of the earth shifting its spin?

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SOURCES: Nature Geoscience, New York Times