New discovery: Cosmic waves reveal a new type of magnetic wave on Earth

Credit: Pixabay

In addition to the more obvious evidence provided by volcanic and seismic activity, there are additional, less obvious, dynamic mechanisms at work deep inside the Earth’s crust. Researchers have identified a new sort of electromagnetic wave that passes over the outermost core of Earth each 7 years using data from ESA’s Swarm satellite project. Delivered recently at ESA’s Living Planet Symposium, this fresh insight into the mysteries of the universe provides a new doorway into a realm we could never see.

For both academic and practical reasons, it’s critical to learn how and also where our magnetic flux is formed, why it changes continually, how solar radiation contributes, and why the field is diminishing right now. We can’t control the magnetosphere, but we can learn about it so that we may be better equipped in the event of solar flares.

Earth’s outermost core lies 3000 kilometers (1900 mi) beneath our soles and generates the vast majority of the field’s energy in the form of a superheated, churning ocean of iron-rich liquid. With its spinning conductors, it acts like a bicycle dynamo, generating alternating current flow and an ever-changing electromagnetic spectrum.

Scientific papers explain the discovery of an entirely new sort of electromagnetic wave that washes through the outer core, where it joins the mantle. During the course of a year, this unexplained wave travels up to 1500 km (900 mi) westwards.

From instrumentation on Earth, we were able to detect a wave-like activity, but it was only when we looked at the magnetic flux from orbit that we discovered what was really going on. These waves are aligned in columns all along the spin axis because of the Earth’s motion.  Closer to the equator, those waves have the most influence on the Geomagnetic field and movement.

While still magneto-Coriolis waves have been shown to have a duration of around seven years, the presence of such pulses that fluctuate at various intervals remains an open subject.

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