Musings of Earth’s Magnetic Field

I am three and a half billion years old. Extending hundreds of miles into outer space, I am often compressed by the solar wind on one side and extended the other.

Aurora Borealis: What Causes the Northern Lights & Where To See Them. 2015. space.com. Web. 16 Sep. 2017.

I was born around the same time as the Earth. It used to spin very fast during my childhood. One of the reasons for my chaotic birth was the explosion of a nearby star which had given Earth much energy and momentum to whirl eagerly.

Out of the gas and dust left behind by the star, basic elements began to form and then heavier ones. Hydrogen and helium present at the beginning eventually gave rise to complex elements. Gravity came into play and sunk the heavier ones to the core while lighter ones remained on top. At the very heart of Earth, the pressure and temperature was so high that iron had no choice but to remain solid. Liquid iron perched on top of the solid core, where the pressure was slightly less. Earth’s rotation swirled this fluid speedily, giving rise to me.

I probably owe my life to a mysterious seed field that all the species on Earth seem to hunt for.

I didn’t always exist, they said. Nor did I come out of nowhere. A seed field, whose origin remains vague, was grabbed by the fluid and distorted before it could diffuse into nothingness. It was amplified upon over and over again until I was born and stabilized over the years.

It’s continuous hard work, since the lighter elements in the liquid core are required to move in a particular pattern which only elements of their mass can do. They align themselves along the rotational axis which makes the whole process of creating me possible. You see, temperature inside Earth is too high for me to exist permanently. All those tiny electrons have to align themselves in the same direction for me to be strong enough. And the only way they can do this is with the help of Earth’s rotation. When all of them are in the same direction, their individual magnetic fields add up to create me. I then emerge out of one pole and enter the other.

If it were not for Earth’s rotation, the blazing temperatures would have vibrated the electrons to the extent that they’d lose their orientation.

Another reason I am still able to survive is because of the heat that is continuously produced from the depths of the planet. The supernova explosion that had triggered Earth’s formation had left behind enough amounts of radioactive elements to produce heat for a long, long time. Uranium, thorium aren’t very stable. They don’t even have enough energy to hold their nuclei together. Which is why they leverage their excess energy for stability. The heat produced seeps through the mantle and onto the surface. Earth itself moved towards stability as it had cooled, sinking the heavier elements to the core and pushing lighter ones outwards. A delicate crust formed on top of the restless liquid core.

Creation Week Part 1. nd. setterfield.org. Web. 16 Sept. 2017.

Earth puts in a continuous effort to attain stability through earthquakes every now and then. Its plates often bobble to balance any change in the liquid iron’s speed, resulting in disasters back on land. It is important for my survival that all of the extra heat reaches Earth’s surface. If it remains trapped, I might die.

It was not until the formation of Moon that all these forces began to work in quiet harmony. One day, a huge asteroid hit Earth. Part of Earth flung into space and eventually cooled. But it was locked by gravitational pull of the Earth and has remained there ever since.

Earth and Moon Seen From the International Space Station. nd. earthspacecircle.blogspot.in. Web. 16 Sept. 2017.

Slowly, Earth began to transfer its rotational energy to the moon. You see, the moon exerted a tidal gravitation on Earth, and it is through these tides that the energy was and is still being transferred. This gradually slowed the earth, consequently slowing down the fierceness of its liquid residents. They became more uniform over time, and in turn, I became more stable.  I now have the ability to save this planet from Sun’s fury.

 

All these are fuel to my survival. It isn’t easy being the magnetic field, constantly faced with the possibility of death. But all these forces are working hard to help me remain steadfast in my position.

And so will I.

 

References:

  1. Decay and Amplification of Magnetic Fields: www.springer.com.
  2. Generation of Magnetic Fields by Biermann Battery Effect: www.mit.edu.
  3. Taylor-Proudman Theorem: www.mit.edu

2 Comment(s)

  1. K.K.Gopala Krishna Rao
    January 22, 2018

    Good article to understand Existence on Earth and necessity to live on earth and it’s worth…

    1. FuelYourCuriosity
      January 26, 2018

      Thank you!

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