Geophysical implications of a decentered inner core


In a first approximation, the Earth’s interior has an isotropic structure with a spherical symmetry. Over the last decades the geophysical observations have revealed, at different spatial scales, the existence of several perturbations from this basic structure. In this paper we discuss the hemispheric perturbations induced to this basic structure if the inner core is displaced from the center of mass of the Earth.

Using numerical simulations of the observed hemispheric asymmetry of the seismic waves traveling through the upper inner core, with faster arrival times and higher attenuation in the Eastern Hemisphere, we estimate that the present position of the inner core is shifted by tens of kilometers from the Earth’s center eastward in the equatorial plane. If the only forces acting on the inner core were the gravitational forces, then its equilibrium position would be at the Earth’s center and the estimated displacement would not be possible.

We conjecture that, due to interactions with the flow and the magnetic field inside the outer core, the inner core is in a permanent chaotic motion.

To support this hypothesis we analyze more than ten different geophysical phenomena consistent with an inner core motion dominated by time scales from hundreds to thousands of years.


C. Vamoș
Tiberiu Popoviciu Institute of Numerical Analysis, Romanian Academy

N. Suciu
Tiberiu Popoviciu Institute of Numerical Analysis, Romanian Academy


Cite this paper as:

C. Vamoş, N. Suciu, Geophysical implications of a decentered inner corearXiv:1402.6494, 2014.



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