12.24.2016.The River From Hell: A Stream Of Molten Lava Is Raging 3000 Km Beneath The Earth’s Surface Right Now.

The River From Hell: A Stream Of Molten Lava Is Raging 3000 Km Beneath The Earth’s Surface Right Now

Artwork EarthImage copyrightESA
Image captionArtwork: A depiction of where the jet is moving – in the outer core. The Swarm satellites fly a few hundred km above the planet and sense its magnetic field

Scientists say they have identified a remarkable new feature in Earth’s molten outer core.

They describe it as a kind of “jet stream" – a fast-flowing river of liquid iron that is surging westwards under Alaska and Siberia.

The moving mass of metal has been inferred from measurements made by Europe’s Swarm satellites.

This trio of spacecraft are currently mapping Earth’s magnetic field to try to understand its fundamental workings.

The scientists say the jet is the best explanation for the patches of concentrated field strength that the satellites observe in the northern hemisphere.

“This jet of liquid iron is moving at about fifty kilometres per year," explained Dr Chris Finlay from the National Space Institute at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Space).

“That might not sound like a lot to you on Earth’s surface, but you have to remember this 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,” he told BBC News.

Dr Finlay was speaking here at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco, just ahead of the official publication of the research in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Artwork: The Swarm satellites were launched in 2013 to study Earth's magnetic fieldImage copyrightESA
Image captionArtwork: The Swarm satellites were launched in 2013 to study Earth’s magnetic field

Most people will be familiar with the atmospheric jet stream – the high-altitude, rapidly flowing belt of air on which aeroplanes ride to get to their destination more quickly.

Dr Finlay and colleagues want us to envision something similar but made of metal and 3,000km down, under our feet.

They assess the jet to be about 420km wide, and say it wraps half-way around the planet.

Its behaviour will be critical to the generation and maintenance of the global magnetic field, they add.

“It’s likely that the jet stream has been in play for hundreds of millions of years," said Dr Phil Livermore from Leeds University, UK, and the lead author on the journal paper.

In the paper, the team puts forward a model to explain the jet.

Artwork EarthImage copyrightESA
Image captionThe major part of Earth’s magnetic field is generated via convection of molten iron in the outer core. The field protects all life from damaging space radiation

The scientists say the feature probably aligns to a boundary between two different regions in the core.

They call this boundary the “tangent cylinder". They imagine this as a tube sitting around the solid inner core, running along Earth’s rotation axis.

When liquid iron approaches the boundary from both sides, it gets squeezed out sideways to form the jet, which then hugs the imaginary tube.

“Of course, you need a force to move fluid towards the tangent cylinder," said Prof Rainer Hollerbach, also from Leeds and another co-author on the paper.

“This could be provided by buoyancy, or perhaps more likely from changes in the magnetic field within the core."

Although the team believes it understands how wide and how long the jet is, the depth to which it descends is far from certain.

Dr Livermore told BBC News: “It currently wraps about 180 degrees around the tangent cylinder. Although observations only constrain the jet stream on the edge of the core, our theoretical understanding suggests that the jet could in principle go very deep indeed – possibly in fact all the way down to the edge of the core in the southern hemisphere (i.e. at the other end of the tangent cylinder)."

That the team can make such inferences speaks to the impressive capabilities of the Swarm constellation.

Launched in November 2013, the European Space Agency satellites are providing unparalleled insights into the structure and behaviour of Earth’s magnetic field.

With their highly sensitive instruments, they are gradually teasing apart the field’s various components – from the dominant signal coming from the movement of iron in the outer core to the almost imperceptible contribution made by ocean currents.

It is hoped the Swarm satellites’ data could ultimately tell us why Earth’s magnetic field has been weakening in recent centuries.

Scientists have speculated we could be on the cusp of a polarity reversal, which would see North become South, and South become North.

This occurs every few hundred thousand years.


A recent major discovery identified a massive liquid iron “jet stream" circling the Earth’s outer core that appears to be accelerating. This comparatively fast flowing liquid iron stream is currently moving westward under Alaska and Siberia as measured by the Swarm satellites and recently published in Nature Geoscience.

The iron jet is moving at about 50 km per year, orders of magnitude faster than plates move and much faster than anything scientists knew of within Earth’s interior. Traveling at 50 km per year doesn’t seem rather fast compared to speeds on the surface of the Earth. However, consider the tremendous amount of energy required to push aside dense liquid metal under very high pressures across hundreds of miles. In addition, it appears that this liquid jet stream is accelerating but scientists have not determined what is causing the acceleration.

The liquid iron jet is similar to the jet stream found within our atmosphere but at 3,000 km below the surface of the Earth. The jet appears to be 420 km wide and covers half way around the planet as it travels through Earth’s liquid outer core. This iron jet has likely been circling the Earth for hundreds of millions of years, yet we just discovered its existence. Despite a good understanding of the iron jet’s width and length, the depth to which it extends is far from known.

The liquid jet likely aligns between two different boundaries within Earth’s core. The boundary, which the research team calls a “tangent cylinder" is like a tube running along the solid inner core along Earth’s rotational axis. When molten iron travels toward the cylinder it is diverted sideways and forms a jet along the theoretical tube.

A superposition of the flow direction and magnitude of the liquid iron jet (Credit: Nature Geoscience)

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As part of the Swarm program, a trio of three spacecraft were launched in 2013 to circle and map the Earth’s magnetic field in 4 dimensions. Scientists are now able to measure spatial changes with time in Earth’s magnetic field from the European Space Agency’s Swarm satellite program. The three satellites allow unprecedented high resolution magnetic field measurements. This allows scientists to examine the structure of Earth’s interior and the dynamic behavior of its magnetic field through time.

The ultimate goal of Swarm is to measure and quantify why Earth’s magnetic field has continuously weakened in the past centuries. The fear is that Earth may be close to a magnetic reversal, whereby the magnetic north flips from its current position near the North Pole to the South Pole. Geologists can measure past pole reversals, which happen every couple hundred thousand years, and note the significant impact this has on climate and population dynamics.

Understanding and monitoring the movement of this liquid iron jet will hopefully shed light on the current state of the liquid core, how it behaves, and the likelihood of an imminent global magnetic reversal.

A Liquid Iron Jet Has Surrounded Earth’s Core And Is Accelerating

JUNE 1, 2016


The European Space Agency has released some new data, and it suggests that the Earth’s magnetic field is weakening at an alarming rate. The magnetic field data was collected by Swarm satellites, which are a series of three orbital satellites utilized for data-gathering by the ESA. The satellites collect information pertaining to the direction, strength, and variations of the Earth’s magnetic field.

magnetic field
[Image by Shutterstock]

Mysterious Universe reports that the newest measurements of the Earth’s magnetic field indicate that it is weakening by roughly 5 percent annually. That may not sound like much, but the number indicates that the Earth’s magnetic field is deteriorating at a rate almost 10 times more rapidly than previously estimated. According to the ESA, the Earth’s magnetic field isn’t weakening in a uniform manner. Rather, the weakening is a bit spotty, with some areas of the magnetic field dwindling much quicker than others.

“It shows clearly that the field has weakened by about 3.5% at high latitudes over North America, while it has strengthened about 2% over Asia. The region where the field is at its weakest – the South Atlantic Anomaly – has moved steadily westward and weakened further by about 2%.”

The newly released information has led some scientists to believe that we might be witnessing the precursors to a reversal of Earth’s magnetic poles. While modern humanity has never witnessed such an event, at least in our recorded history, scientists say that their research indicates that the Earth’s magnetic poles reverse roughly every 100,000 years.

earth's field
[Image by Shutterstock]

The last magnetic pole reversal is believed to have taken place during the Stone Age.When talk turns to a magnetic pole shift on Earth, conspiracy theorists are quick to say that it will be a doomsday scenario that ends all life on the planet. At the very least, conspiracy theorists believe that a magnetic pole reversal would spell the end of modern civilization and humanity as we know it.

Geoscientists are less concerned about the potential repercussions of a magnetic pole shift, though. The general consensus among experts is that the worst impact Earth’s denizens will likely face if such an event occurs is ” the re-labeling all of Earth’s compasses.”

magnetic core
[Image by Shutterstock]

According to Chris Finlay, a researcher with the ESA, this newly released data is “groundbreaking” in its unprecedented detail and the accuracy of the readings provided by the Swarm satellites.

“Swarm data are now enabling us to map detailed changes in Earth’s magnetic field, not just at Earth’s surface but also down at the edge of its source region in the core. Unexpectedly, we are finding rapid localized field changes that seem to be a result of accelerations of liquid metal flowing within the core.”

As Science Alert reports, Earth’s magnetic field is our planet’s first line of defense against cosmic radiation and harsh solar winds. And while some might find the ESA’s new data to be disturbing, scientists have known for decades that our magnetic field is inherently unstable and has appeared to be weakening. The most surprising information to come out of this most recent research into the Earth’s magnetic field is the rate at which our protective shield is changing.

Some social media users have serious concerns about the weakening of the Earth’s magnetic field.

If the recently detected changes in Earth’s magnetic field are indicative of an impeding magnetic pole reversal, scientists say that it’s not something that will happen in an instant or even within a few days or weeks.

“Such a flip is not instantaneous, but would take many hundred if not a few thousand years. They have happened many times in the past.”

Science’s understanding of the Earth’s magnetic field is, admittedly, limited. The field is believed to be produced by the motion of Earth’s outer core, which is made of molten iron. The liquid metal spins and swirls beneath our feet, and it is this motion that is thought to both create and influence the Earth’s magnetic field.

The ESA’s Swarm satellite data has helped science better understand both how the Earth’s magnetic field works and how it is influenced by the Earth’s core.

What do you think? Are you worried about the weakening of the magnetic field? Do you think the increasing rate that the Earth’s magnetic field is weakening indicates an impending pole reversal?

[Image by Shutterstock]


22 耶和華說:「我所要造的新天新地怎樣在我面前長存,你們的後裔和你們的名字也必照樣長存。 23 每逢月朔、安息日,凡有血氣的必來在我面前下拜。」這是耶和華說的。 24 「他們必出去觀看那些違背我人的屍首。因為他們的蟲是不死的,他們的火是不滅的。凡有血氣的,都必憎惡他們。」


64 願你裂天而降,願山在你面前震動 好像火燒乾柴,又像火將水燒開,使你敵人知道你的名,使列國在你面前發顫。 你曾行我們不能逆料可畏的事,那時你降臨,山嶺在你面前震動。