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You are here News Science Earth’s inner core may have ‘paused’ its rotation and reversed, new study suggests

Earth’s inner core may have ‘paused’ its rotation and reversed, new study suggests

Inner coreDeep in the center of the Earth is the inner core, which spans roughly 746 miles and is composed of primarily pure, solid iron, NASA explains. Though we’ve long believed – and research has shown – that the inner core rotates, a new study suggests it may have “paused” its spin and could even have reversed.

The liquid outer core that surrounds the inner core causes Earth’s magnetic field. According to NASA, as the molten iron and nickel in the outer core move, they create electrical currents that result in a magnetic field. The outer core also allows the inner core to spin on its own, Nature explains.

Though scientists can’t track the core directly, they can analyze seismic waves caused by earthquakes – and Cold War-era nuclear weapon tests – as they reach the core. That’s what study co-authors Yi Yang and Xiaodong Song, seismologists at Peking University in Beijing, did for their new research, which was published in the Nature Geoscience journal on Monday.

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