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Fluctuating gravity of Earth’s core

Stevenson, David J. (2012) Fluctuating gravity of Earth’s core. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109 (47). pp. 19039-19040. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC3511148. doi:10.1073/pnas.1216731109.

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For centuries, we have known that Earth’s magnetic field varies with time. Edmond Halley (better known for his eponymous recurring comet) first recognized this time variation of magnetic compass needle direction and even offered a remarkable theory that required an intervening fluid between Earth’s solid outer shell and a hypothesized innermost solid core (1). For decades, consensus has emerged for an explanation of this time variation that depends on the dynamics of Earth’s liquid metallic outer core. In this dynamo theory (2), the fluid motions responsible for field regeneration arise because of density differences within the fluid, much as density and pressure differences in Earth’s atmosphere or ocean can drive circulation and vertical motions in those regions of Earth. Density differences necessarily imply changes in Earth’s gravity field, so it is only a small step in logic to imagine that there could be changes in the gravity field that correlate with changes in the magnetic field, with both changes arising from fluid flow in the core. In PNAS, Mandea et al. (3) claim to have found possible evidence for such a correlation on a time scale of a few years to a decade.

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Stevenson, David J.0000-0001-9432-7159
Additional Information:© 2012 National Academy of Sciences. Published online before print November 5, 2012. Author contributions: D.J.S. wrote the paper.
Issue or Number:47
PubMed Central ID:PMC3511148
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130104-134326878
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:36175
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:05 Jan 2013 00:27
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:20

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