Earth’s inner core could be reversing its rotation, finds study

Analysing seismic waves driven by earthquakes, a group of scientists believes that Earth’s core has reversed its rotation. While the impact wouldn’t be much on the life on Earth, but it surely can influence the length of the day and might have a little effect on Earth’s magnetic field, the study published in Nature Geoscience on Monday said.

Xiaodong Song, a seismologist at Peking University in Beijing, and a co-author of the new study, said, “In theory it has been going on for a long time but we only have observations over a few decades.” She said that Earth’s core was rotating faster than the surface but by 2019, it stopped. “Now, it is gradually moving in the opposite direction.”

The spinning of the core happens because of the magnetic field, generating in the outer core. If the scientist figure out how the inner core rotates, it could help them understand how the different layers of Earth interact with each other.

Between 2009 and 2020, the rotation stopped and may have reversed the direction. Researchers have also believed that the inner core rotates like a swing.

“We believe the inner core rotates, relative to the Earth’s surface, back and forth, like a swing,” they told AFP.

Some researchers from China’s Peking University told AFP, “One cycle of the swing is about seven decades, meaning it changes direction roughly every 35 years. It previously changed direction in the early 1970s, and predicted the next about-face would be in the mid-2040s.”

The researchers said this rotation roughly lines up with changes in what is called the “length of day” — small variations in the exact time it takes Earth to rotate on its axis.

(With agency inputs)

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