Volcanic Margins Research Consortium
The dynamics of the Earth’s core: large-scale vortices and jets.
Motions of liquid iron in the Earth’s outer core are driven by convection due to the cooling of the planet. These motions are the main source for the generation and sustenance of the geomagnetic field. The solidification of the inner core is a major contributor to convection in the liquid core as it provides a compositional source of buoyancy from the release of light elements at the inner core boundary and a thermal source from latent heat release. However, recent estimates of the age of the inner core indicate that it is relatively young, less than 1 billion years old. Palaeomagnetic data indicate that the geomagnetic field has been present for at least 3.5 billion years, so a young inner core raises the problem of what source of energy is available for the generation of the magnetic field before the nucleation of the inner core. In this talk, I will address this problem with numerical simulations of thermal convection driven solely by secular cooling. I will discuss the nature of the flows of liquid iron that form in this system, and in particular, the large-scale vortices and jets that are favourable for the generation of the geomagnetic field.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this event.
The Volcanic Margins Research Consortium (VMRC) provides the petroleum industry with training and research expertise in volcanology, sedimentology and structural geology of volcanic margins. The consortium comprises academic staff at the universities of Durham, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Leicester and CASP, and industry partners involved in the development of hydrocarbon prospects in the North Atlantic Igneous Province and the Faroes-Shetland Basin.
Training takes place during workshops, in the laboratory and on field courses and each industrial partner has the opportunity to fund PhD projects through the member universities.
VMRC Leader: Richard Brown