Special Reviews

Earth's Core and the Geodynamo

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Science  16 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5473, pp. 2007-2012
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5473.2007

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Earth's magnetic field is generated by fluid motion in the liquid iron core. Details of how this occurs are now emerging from numerical simulations that achieve a self-sustaining magnetic field. Early results predict a dominant dipole field outside the core, and some models even reproduce magnetic reversals. The simulations also show how different patterns of flow can produce similar external fields. Efforts to distinguish between the various possibilities appeal to observations of the time-dependent behavior of the field. Important constraints will come from geological records of the magnetic field in the past.

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