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Opposing rotation of the Earth's core

  1. Sep 6, 2012 #1
    I heard an interesting proposal - it sounds plausible but I'm here to see what you guys think. It is a way of explaining a diverse set of natural phenomena on Earth with one mechanism - rotation.

    The proposal is this: The core of the Earth rotates in the opposite direction to the Earth's mantle creating great heat and energy through friction. This simple mechanism (opposing rotation) is the cause of the heat at the core, the magnetic field around the earth, the auroras, the energy source for life on Earth and gravity.

    The Earth acts like it has a spinning bar magnet at its centre - perhaps it does. The opposing rotation of the core would explain the consistency of the Earth's magnetic field over time, which has been a problem to explain. The auroras are caused by output of energy at the poles - like a spinning bar magnet.

    Rotation may also explain the 1400 miles of magma surrounding the core. Our core is the size of our moon and if it spins in the opposite direction, then perhaps it could melt that huge quantity of rock. And act as an incubator for the development of life on Earth.

    The proposal states that energy produced by the opposing rotating core is electromagnetically attracted to the sun - these two dynamos interact to create the atmosphere on Earth.

    Gravity is not a force from above pushing down on us, but rather a force from below (the Core) rising up through us towards the sun. We are held in place by the energy winding us through our DNA - the rising energy holds us like screws on a spinning tyre in which the spin ensures the hold.

    The 'life force' of the planet - that which makes seeds grow and our hearts beat is an explainable force - the energy from the core rising up through us be electromagnetically attracted to the sun.

    I've given a very brief overview of the proposal, but I hope it's enough to get your ideas flowing. What do you think? Is it plausible? Song and Richards found that core rotates independently from the mantle. They determined it was 1 degree faster, other researchers have said anything from .2 to 3 degrees faster. Sharrock and Woodhouse looking at the data found that the core rotation is best explained as going 'west to east' - opposite to the mantle but they didn't pursue this finding any further.

    I like this explanation because just one simple mechanism - rotation - can explain how life can develop and be sustained on Earth. It also explains the Earth as a natural system. We see that life on Earth works through systems - interconnected and interdependent. This is also true at a molecular level - so why not at a planetary level? Rotation is a common feature in the cosmos. And just by spinning the core in the opposite direction, you can create many of the necessary conditions for life.

    What do you think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 6, 2012 #2
    Sorry, I'd suggest you read the rules first. We don't discuss wild ideas.
  4. Sep 6, 2012 #3
    "If we dismiss theories because they seem weird, we risk missing true breakthroughs." Max Tegmark, MIT physicist

    This is exactly the place where we should discuss wild ideas - new ideas - interesting ideas.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  5. Sep 6, 2012 #4
  6. Sep 6, 2012 #5
    Andre has it.

    If you want to discuss speculation try a website that has a speculations forum such as


    The rules here have no scope for speculation or even work that has not yet been properly published.

    That does not mean you are not welcome to discuss mainstream science here.
    Far from it.
    So please be welcome to discuss anything that is not speculation.
  7. Sep 6, 2012 #6
    Why is it physically unlikely? Celestial bodies rotate. If the core of the Earth was spinning in the opposite direction we would find great heat at the core and a magnetic field around the planet, which is exactly what we see - I don't see the unlikely part.

    Writing "there is no reason given why this situation would exist", is not an argument against the proposal. Why do humans exist? Why does the Earth exist? But if I were to venture an answer I would say so that life can exist on Earth. The opposing rotation provides heat and energy for the development of life. Nature works through processes - sublime, beautiful, complex yet lean systems that enable life in its myriad of forms. This could be yet another system in Nature. Which leads me into your next point: "What it would solve?"

    This is one of the main points of this proposal. Right now we have a disparate collection of explanations for the heat of the core, magnetic field, etc - that are called 'natural' but really don't have the hallmarks of natural processes. This proposal (not my original thought) reduces the collection of explanations down to one mechanism - rotation. By Occam's razor it should be considered.

    The biggest discovery in molecular biology was the sheer complexity of the cell. Initially the cell was thought to be the most simple part of the organism, the brick that builds the Taj Mahal of the body. Now we've discovered the cell is the most complex part of the organism - more complex than the organism it builds - we've learned that the Taj Mahal is contained in the brick.

    What I'm suggesting here, is that it may be possible (and perhaps preferable) to extend the complexity of Nature to include the inner workings of our planet.

    PS - Thank you for the link.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  8. Sep 6, 2012 #7
    What a shame. Ok.
  9. Sep 6, 2012 #8


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    Gold Member

    I think you miss the point of science and of this forum. You are quite correct in the statement above, but so what? If you are going to propose an idea, it is not up to science or this forum to show why it is wrong, it is up to you to show why it is right.

    I have no idea which way the core rotates, but pure speculation on your part is not helpful in giving me any understanding of whether it does or not (rotate counter to the mantle).

    As has been said, there ARE forums on which you can speculate as wildly as you wish, but this is not one of them.

    It IS a great forum for discussion and getting a better understanding of mainstream physics.
  10. Sep 6, 2012 #9
    Yes I got it. Thanks. My mistake - I didn't read the rules before posting. But now I see: "Our mission is to provide a place for people (whether students, professional scientists, or others interested in science) to learn and discuss science as it is currently generally understood and practiced by the professional scientific community." This is not a place to question, but to listen.
  11. Sep 6, 2012 #10
    Meanwhile it may help to understand why a counter rotating earth core is an unstable situation.

    Look how a torque converter works in an automatic gearbox. Now consider the Earth mantle, with an momentum of many orders of magnitude more than the inner core, the "prime mover" Due to the friction between the mantle and fluid outer core boundary, the latter will take over the rotation of the mantle as in the torque converter. If the inner core was counter rotating, there would be a tremendous friction within the fluid outer core, that friction would also slow down the inner core. The friction would continue to exist as long as the mantle and inner core are not at the same rotation speed. So inevitably the core would come to spin at practically the same rate as the mantle, the vector sum of initial core and mantle rotational momentum. Obviously it's more complex than that with heat transporting convection cells etc, and transmission of precession differences between mantle and core but that's minor compared to a conter rotating core.

    But how would the core come to spin in opposite direction in the first place?
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  12. Sep 6, 2012 #11


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    Gold Member

    No, despite your annoyance, you are just stubbonly and willfully misunderstanding. This is TOTALLY a place to ask quesions, but it is not a forum for speculation, it is a forum for mainstream physics. There are plenty of forum out there for you if all you want to do is speculate.
  13. Sep 6, 2012 #12
    You need to iron out your understanding here:

    You seem to think that the core is surrounded by an ocean of magma. Magma is molten rock. Actually the inner core is surrounded by the outer core. The outer core is molten iron, and it has a viscosity comparable to water.

    The inner core is decoupled from the mantle by the liquid outer core. The outer core is coupled to the mantle by electromagnetic, viscous, gravitational and thermal mechanism. The electromagnetic, viscous, and gravitational mechanisms can exchange a small amount of momentum from core to mantle, enough to explain slight nutations and length of day variations in the earths spin.

    The magnetic field of the Earth is generated by the fluid motion of electrically conductive iron in the earth's outer core -- the so-called 'geodynamo' -- this produces the surface field which 'looks like a bar magnet'. It is important to recognise that there is not a permanently magnetised bar magnet in the core -- the physical conditions prohibit such a thing.
  14. Sep 6, 2012 #13

    Budapest, you need to know that there is a plethora of research to the structure and physics of the inner core and many things are consistent with a core spinning just about the same rate as the mantle. Actually there has been a big fuzz about the idea -and evidence- that the core was rotating slightly faster than the mantle. That's how science is conducted.

    Just curiousity, is there new research about that? Last I heard was that there was an uncertainty of a factor threenor maybe more about the viscosity of the liquid outer core.
  15. Sep 6, 2012 #14


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    Staff: Mentor

    No. Read the Rules link at the top of the page. We do not discuss non-mainstream ideas here. You may go elsewhere if you want to have that type of discussion.

    This thread is closed. Do not post like this again here.
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