Earth's Crystallized Iron Content in Solid Core Growing Lopsided

Robert Zwilling

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The Earth's core apparently has more 60 percent more iron on the eastern side than the western side. Could have been happening for the past 500 million years. The core isn't all that old, 500 million to 1,500 million years old. Uneven convection cooling from plate tectonic plate movement could be one cause, though nothing is solidly confirmed about what is causing the unequal crystallization of iron in the solid core. Since we don't know how long this has been happening, it could be since day one, which means any changes would be unnoticeable over time periods we can comprehend. The core is staying round, shaped by gravity. Apparently the magnetism we see on the surface and sky is coming from a molten layer covering the solid core where it could be assumed the iron content is more uniform. It is only after it crystalizes out that the imbalance happens. If we are approaching a tipping point where the switch suddenly pops on, or off, we would notice something. It is possible that the Earth's magnetic field might not continue to be as symmetrical as it seems to be. But this could be taking millions of years to play out. People are now studying how this might effect the Earth's magnetic field. It could be making the field the way it has been all along.
Earth's Core Iron Crystal Content Lopsided
 

BAYLOR

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In the end , the core will cool and become inactive , Earth will lose it's atmosphere and, what life is left on Earth will cease.
 

Wayne Mack

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Probably better to wait for a write up from a more knowledgeable reporter. Anyone talking about east and west of an axis of rotation brings doubt in my mind that the person understands the subject.
 

Robert Zwilling

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Here's UC Berkeley media announcement about the new model by UC Berkeley seismologists, basically the same but with a few less extra details about the core. I like the extra information. If Earth's core solidified 1.5 to .5 billion years ago, were the protective qualities of the magnetic field before the solidification radically different from before that happened. Single cell life started off pretty much immediately after Earth appeared, but multicell life didn't appear until during time of the solidification of the core.

Some meteorites have similar composition to Earth's core. One thought is they came from the cores of dwarf planets. If the components and mechanisms that create planets are somewhat standardized then the final results might also be standardized in terms of having life develop, but with absolutely no idea of what it looks like. I believe that substantial amount of Earth's surface water was squeezed out of the rocks, such as ringwoodite in the mantle. It is suspected that the ringwoodite 400 miles below Earth's surface has 3 times the amount of surface water locked up in it. This is just one mineral out of many like this, so this type of water release might be a standard feature for planet creation. Ringwoodite could be part of the movement of water that gets sucked into the mantle by the movement of the plates as they sink into the Earth. The planet surface is dry after initial cooling, water gets squeezed out, plates form, then the water conveyor starts running like it is today. Instant water planet.

Perhaps the composition of the mantle effects the way the core radiates heat or absorbs cold which could lead to uneven condensing of the iron crystals. If the different minerals in the mantle are not uniformly distributed, perhaps all you can get is a lopsided deposit of iron crystals in any planet's core that is heated by radioactive elements.
 

Dave

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Can this explain the geological historic magnetic pole shifts at all? Evidence from iron-rich rocks tells us that this has happened regularly with the magnetic north and south poles flipping positions. I always found that interesting in itself, but even more interesting was that the switches didn't appear to have happened instantaneously. There was a period when they were in flux and the magnetic field might have been weaker which suggests that there was some kind of process happening. There is another doomsday science fiction thriller movie idea there for you that no one has used yet, but in reality the likelihood of it happening again very soon, set against the enormity of the geological timescale is tiny.
 

Ori Vandewalle

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One thing the UC Berkeley press release makes clear at least is that this is just a hypothesis based on a computer model to explain the difference in speed of seismic waves crossing the core north-south vs. through the equator.

Wish I could read the paper, but I don't have access to Nature Geoscience... oh wait I do. Huh, is that new, or is it just Nature I don't get? Well, whatever the case, the paper isn't actually out yet, so nevermind. /me stops stream of conscious posting.
 

Robert Zwilling

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The geological time is tiny, unless we are unlucky. I was thinking that 60 percent might be close to some kind of trip point unless it is always 60 percent, then it means no big changes, just one more cog in a wheel we don't understand. Perhaps it uses the imbalance to do something. A washing machine with an unbalanced load just short of making it lurch around is pretty impressive. Tesla use to fine tune Edison's huge generators by listening to them. And if it wasn't imbalanced perhaps the magnetic field might be a lot stronger.
 

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