The Earth’s magnetic field permanently protects us from the charged particles and radiation that originate in the Sun. This shield is produced by the geodynamo, the rapid motion of huge quantities of liquid iron alloy in the Earth’s outer core. To maintain this magnetic field until the present day, the classical model required the Earth’s core to have cooled by around 3 000 °C over the past 4.3 billion years. Now, a team of researchers from CNRS and Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France, suggests that, on the contrary, its temperature has fallen by only 300 °C. The action of the Moon, overlooked until now, is thought to have compensated for this difference and kept the geodynamo active. Their work is published on 30 march 2016 in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
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