What’s Behind The Strange Slowing Of The Earth’s Core?

12:10 minutes

a computer generated image of a cross section of the earth viewed from space, where you can see the multiple layers of the earth (the crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core) as it gets deeper into the earth, the sections get brighter
Credit: Shutterstock

Even though some days feel more chaotic than others, the rotation of the surface of the planet proceeds at a pretty constant rate—about one full rotation every 24 hours. But the rotational speed of the inner core is less stable, and has been known to shift over time. 

Now, researchers are reporting in the journal Nature Geoscience that according to seismic data, the Earth’s inner core may have recently paused its rotation, and could even go on to reverse direction relative to the rest of the planet. 

Tim Revell, deputy United States editor of New Scientist, joins SciFri producer Kathleen Davis to talk about the shift in rotation and other stories from the week in science, including shared language characteristics between humans and wild apes, and a wolf population that has started to enjoy snacking on sea otters.

They’ll also talk about an ancient Egyptian mummy with a heart of gold, and a tiny robot with morphing liquid metal capabilities straight out of Hollywood.

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Segment Guests

Tim Revell

Tim Revell is Deputy United States Editor for New Scientist in New York, New York.

Segment Transcript

The transcript is being processed. It will be available the week after the segment airs.

Meet the Producers and Host

About Charles Bergquist

As Science Friday’s director and senior producer, Charles Bergquist channels the chaos of a live production studio into something sounding like a radio program. Favorite topics include planetary sciences, chemistry, materials, and shiny things with blinking lights.

About Kathleen Davis

Kathleen Davis is a producer at Science Friday, which means she spends the week brainstorming, researching, and writing, typically in that order. She’s a big fan of stories related to strange animal facts and dystopian technology.

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