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Jul 01

Oceans Could Be Changing Earth's Magnetic Field


Planet Earth

According to a controversial new study, the flow of seawater across our planet's surface could be the cause of small fluctuations in Earth's magnetic field. Earth's magnetic field extends thousands of miles into space and shields surface life from the solar wind—a potentially harmful stream of charged particles emanating from the sun.

The author of the study, Gregory Ryskin, an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University in Illinois, says that the current dynamo theory about Earth's magnetic field – which states that the field is generated by a churning molten planet core – could  fall apart as a result.

In the study, published in the New Journal of Physics, Ryskin argues that variations in the magnetic field may be due to circulating seawater. Ocean currents are already known to bring up nutrient-rich cold water from the depths and carry it to different parts of our planet, plus it's also known that dissolved salts in seawater can conduct electricity. With churning currents comes a secondary magnetic field, which Ryskin calculates is nearly the same to measurements of the variations in the planet's variation.

Although this new study hasn't met its criticism. Other geophysicists have dismissed the idea as poor science. We'll have to watch and see what happens in the coming months with more releases due out from Ryskin.

Posted by Jay Roberts at 02:34 PM | Permalink

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