Earth's mantle, not its core, may have generated planet's early magnetic field

Scientists are finding that Earth’s mantle may have generated the planet’s early magnetic field. Credit: Naeblys

New research lends credence to an unorthodox retelling of the story of early Earth that was first proposed by a geophysicist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California.

In a study appearing in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, researchers Dave Stegman, Leah Ziegler and Nicolas Blanc provide new estimates of the thermodynamics of magnetic field generation in the liquid portion of early Earth’s mantle, and show how long that field was available.
The National Science Foundation-funded research provides a “door-opening opportunity” to resolving inconsistencies in the narrative of the planet’s early days.
“Currently we have no grand unifying theory for how Earth evolved thermally,” Stegman said. “We don’t have a conceptual…

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