Tags: iron | jet stream | earth | core

'Iron Jet Stream' Discovered at Earth's Core by Scientists' Satellites

Image: 'Iron Jet Stream' Discovered at Earth's Core by Scientists' Satellites

ESA’s Swarm satellites have led the discovery of a jet stream in the liquid iron part of Earth’s core 1,864 miles beneath the surface. In addition, Swarm satellite data show that this jet stream is speeding up. (Photo via ESA)

By    |   Wednesday, 21 Dec 2016 06:18 AM

European Space Agency satellites used X-ray images of Earth’s core to discover that a molten iron jet stream flows 1,900 miles below the earth’s surface.

The molten rock is concentrated beneath Alaska and Siberia and moves about 25 miles per year, according to researchers at the University of Leeds in England, UPI reported. Although the movement may not seem very fast, it is in fact several hundred times faster than other places in the core and thousands of times faster than tectonic plate movement.

The iron jet stream is believed to be one of several sources of the Earth’s magnetic field. Other sources include the mantle, crust, oceans and ionosphere and magnetosphere.

The discovery of the jet stream was published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

“We’ve not only seen this jet stream clearly for the first time, but we understand why it’s there,” said study lead researcher Dr. Phil Livermore in a news release. Further discoveries are expected to occur as the core is studied further, the researchers expect.

The scientists identified the jet stream as “accelerating,” and the Christian Science Monitor reported the stream seems to have tripled in speed since 2000.

“That might not sound like a lot to you on Earth’s surface, but you have to remember this is a very dense liquid metal and it takes a huge amount of energy to move this thing around and that’s probably the fastest motion we have anywhere within the solid Earth,” Dr. Chris Finlay of DTU Space in Denmark told the BBC.

“The magnetic field is forever changing, and this could even make the jet stream switch direction,” said study co-author Rune Floberghagen in the news release.

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European Space Agency satellites used X-ray images of Earth's core to discover that a molten iron jet stream flows 1,900 miles below the earth's surface.
iron, jet stream, earth, core
283
2016-18-21
Wednesday, 21 Dec 2016 06:18 AM
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