Earth's core is growing 'lopsided' and scientists don't know why ??

List members , now this mystery seems to mock the mainstream theory for internal structure of planets - it really takes the cake :))

Earth's core is growing 'lopsided' and scientists don't know why

By Brandon Specktor - Senior Writer 1 day ago

The core is losing heat faster under Indonesia than it is under Brazil, and that's messing with the seismic waves passing through it.

Earth's solid inner core may be growing in a 'lopsided' pattern, new research suggests.

Earth's solid inner core may be growing in a 'lopsided' pattern, new research suggests. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

There's a mystery brewing at the center of the Earth.

Scientists can only see it when they study the seismic waves (subterranean tremors generated by earthquakes) passing through the planet's solid iron inner core. For some reason, waves move through the core significantly faster when they're traveling between the north and south poles than when they're traveling across the equator.

Researchers have known about this discrepancy — known as seismic anisotropy — for decades, but have been unable to come up with an explanation that's consistent with the available data. Now, using computer simulations of the core's growth over the last billion years, a new study in the June 3 issue of Nature Geoscience offers a solution that finally seems to fit: Every year, little by little, Earth's inner core is growing in a "lopsided" pattern, with new iron crystals forming faster on the east side of the core than on the west side.

"The movement of liquid iron in the outer core carries heat away from the inner core, causing it to freeze," lead study author Daniel Frost, a seismologist at the University of California, Berkeley, told Live Science. "So this means the outer core has been taking more heat from the east side [under Indonesia] than the west [under Brazil]."

To visualize this lopsided growth in the core, imagine a tree trunk with growth rings radiating out from a central point, Frost said — but "the center of the rings is offset from the center of the tree," so that rings are spaced further apart on the east side of the tree and closer together on the west side.

A cross section of Earth's inner core might look similar to that. However, this asymmetric growth doesn't mean that the inner core itself is misshapen or at risk of becoming imbalanced, the researchers said.

The team's model proposes that Earth’s inner core grows faster on its east side (left) than on its west. Gravity equalizes the asymmetric growth by pushing iron crystals toward the north and south poles (arrows). This tends to align the long axis of iron crystals along the planet’s rotation axis (dashed line), explaining the different travel times for seismic waves through the inner core. (Image credit: Marine Lasbleis)

On average, the inner core's radius grows evenly by about 0.04 inches (1 millimeter) every year. Gravity corrects for the lopsided growth in the east by pushing new crystals toward the west. There, the crystals clump into lattice structures that stretch along the core's north-south axis. These crystal structures, aligned parallel with Earth's poles, are seismic superhighways that enable earthquake waves to travel more quickly in that direction, according to the team's models.

Unpacking the snowball

What's causing this imbalance in the inner core, anyway? That's hard to say without looking at all the other layers of our planet, Frost said.

"Every layer in the Earth is controlled by what's above it, and influences what's below it," he said. "The inner core is slowly freezing out of the liquid outer core, like a snowball adding more layers. The outer core is then cooled by the mantle above it — so to ask the question of why the inner core is growing faster on one side than the other might be asking the question of why is one side of the mantle cooler than the other?"

Tectonic plates could be partially to blame, Frost said. As cold tectonic plates dive deep below the Earth's surface at subduction zones (places where one plate sinks below another), they cool the mantle below. However, whether mantle cooling could impact the inner core is still a subject of debate, Frost said.

Equally puzzling is whether or not the lopsided cooling in the core could be affecting Earth's magnetic field. The modern-day magnetic field is powered by the movement of liquid iron in the outer core; this liquid's movement is powered in turn by heat lost from the inner core. If the inner core is losing more heat in the east than the west, then the outer core will move more in the east too, Frost said.

"The question is, does this change the strength of the magnetic field?" he added.

Questions this big are beyond the scope of the team's new paper, but Frost said he has begun work on new research with a team of geomagnetists to investigate some possibilities.

Originally published on Live Science.


LOL. These kinds of articles are hilarious in context of it is baffling as to how they can keep trying to stay on their broken little geological theory proverbial bike that has lost its its peddles, chain, gears and now tires...

You bet @Soretna , this discovery is such an embarassment for the establishment in geological sciences . They are clueless on how to explain this glaring anomaly . With each such finding , their solid Earth theory becomes more and more untenable .

I wonder when they will admit that their theory of an iron core at Earth's center , is utter RUBBISH !

Jan Lamprecht had provided such an excellent Hollow Planet explanation for this observation about seismic waves passing through the Earth .

The tragedy is that today Geology has become a DEAD END science - till the currently prevailing paradigm is discarded , no further research breakthrough is possible . Unfortunately , science is a field in which the winner takes all - so , acceptance of the Hollow Planet theory will open a can of worms for so many other cherished scientific theories .

The science establishment just does NOT want to open this Pandora's box , since it is likely to even dislodge Einstein's theories .


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Thanks @Soretna , here is another seismic phenomenon for which there is no explanation (YET !!) this the Earth's "heartbeat" ?? How I wish we could directly consult with Jan Lamprecht on this topic :-

The Earth Is Pulsating Every 26 Seconds, And Seismologists Don't Agree Why

Like clockwork, seismometers across multiple continents have detected a mysterious pulse since at least the early 1960s.

By Anna FunkOct 28, 2020 12:30 AM

seismic noise

(Credit: Varunyuuu/Shutterstock)

Every 26 seconds, the Earth shakes. Not a lot — certainly not enough that you’d feel it — but just enough that seismologists on multiple continents get a measurable little “blip” on their detectors. But even though this pulse has been observed for decades, researchers don’t agree on what’s causing it. The mystery surrounding the phenomenon even has its own XKCD web comic.

The pulse — or “microseism” in geologist lingo — was first documented in the early 1960s by a researcher named Jack Oliver, then at the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory. He’s best known for his later work that supplied some important early evidence for shifting tectonic plates. Oliver figured out that the pulse was coming from somewhere “in the southern or equatorial Atlantic Ocean” and that it was stronger in the Northern Hemisphere's summer months (or, the Southern Hemisphere's winter).

“Jack didn’t have the resources in 1962 that we had in 2005 — he didn’t have digital seismometers, he was dealing with paper records,” explains Mike Ritzwoller, a seismologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, whose team would independently come across the strange pulse some decades later.

In 1980, Gary Holcomb, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, looked more closely at the weird microseism, and figured out that it’s strongest during storms. But his and Oliver’s work would mostly be lost to time, while the constant seismic drumbeat would go on, unnoticed, beneath our feet.

Then one day in 2005, then-graduate student Greg Bensen was working with seismic data at his lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His advisor walked in and asked him to show him what he was working on. As Ritzwoller tells it, Bensen pulled up some data, and there it was: A strong signal, coming from somewhere far off. “As soon as we saw this, [then-postdoctoral researcher Nikolai Shapiro] and I recognized that there was something weird, but we had no idea what it was,” Ritzwoller says.

Perplexed, the team examined the blips from every possible angle. Was something wrong with their instruments? Or their analyses? Or was this seismic activity really happening? All signs pointed to the latter. They were even able to triangulate the pulse to its origin: A single source in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western coast of Africa. They dug up Oliver’s and Holcomb’s work, too, and published a study in 2006 in Geophysical Research Letters. But even since then, no one has really confirmed the cause of the regular seismic activity. Though many assume it’s caused by waves, some hold out that it’s caused by volcanic activity.

Noise Is All Around Us

Though this particular pulse is intriguing, the fact that there’s seismic activity during a quiet time (that is, not during an earthquake or volcanic eruption) is old news. There's a background of subtle seismic noise around us all the time.

“Seismic noise basically exists because of the sun,” explains Ritzwoller. The sun heats the Earth more at the equator than at the poles, he says, which generates winds and storms and ocean currents and waves. When a wave hits a coastline, the energy is transferred to the land.

“It’s like if you were tapping on your desk. It deforms the area near your knuckle, but then it’s being transmitted across the whole table,” he says. “So someone sitting at the other side of the table, if they put their hand, or maybe their cheek, on the table, they can feel the vibration.”

Researchers can study patterns in this ambient seismic noise to learn about the interior of the Earth, which Ritzwoller’s group has been doing for decades. “But the observation of [the pulse in 2005] caught us by surprise,” he says.

Locating the Pulse

Fast forward six years, when another graduate student, Garrett Euler, came along, this time in seismologist Doug Wiens’ lab at Washington University in St. Louis. Euler narrowed down the source of the pulse even more, to a part of the Gulf of Guinea called the Bight of Bonny. He also made a case for why waves hitting the coast were likely the cause.

When waves travel across the ocean, the pressure difference in the water might not have much effect on the ocean floor, explains Wiens. But when it hits the continental shelf — where the solid ground is much closer to the surface — the pressure deforms the ocean floor (much like knocking on a desk deforms the surface) and causes seismic pulses that reflect the wave action. Euler presented his findings at the Seismological Society of America conference in 2013.

But not everyone was fully convinced. In a paper that same year, a team led by Yingjie Xia from the Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics in Wuhan, China, proposed that the most likely source of the 26-second pulse was not waves, but volcanoes. That’s because the pulse’s origin point is suspiciously close to a volcano on the island of São Tomé in the Bight of Bonny. And, indeed, there is at least one other place on Earth where a volcano does cause a microseism with some similarities to this one. (If you’re wondering, it’s Aso Volcano in Japan.)

Even outside this main debate, more questions remain. Namely, why here? There are plenty of other continental shelves and volcanoes around the world that, as far as we know, aren’t causing seismic pulses — what’s so special about the Bight of Bonny?

But nearly 60 years after the pulse was first observed, no one has managed to figure it out. That may be because, as far as seismologists are concerned, it’s just not really a priority. “There are certain things that we concentrate on in seismology,” explains Wiens. “We want to determine the structure beneath the continents, things like that. This is just a little bit outside what we would typically study … [since] it doesn’t have anything to do with understanding the deep structure of the Earth.”

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth studying, Ritzwoller adds.

“We’re still waiting for the fundamental explanation of the cause of this phenomenon,” says Ritzwoller. “I think the point [of all this] is there are very interesting, fundamental phenomena in the earth that are known to exist out there and remain secret.” It may be up to future generations of students, he says, to truly unlock these great enigmas.