Is the Earth Cooling?

 

 

 

 

Does the Earth have Variations in Core Heat Radiation?

As we have seen over the past ten years there seems to have been an increase in seismic and volcanic activity around the planet. Those who would deny this would deny that three major tsunamis in ten years is simply not “normal” in any ten years span. These events should on average happen every fifty to one hundred years on average as far as our experience will tell us.

The same may be said of volcanic activity, in that it also has seemingly been increasing over the past ten years. There have been major swells and rumblings in nearly all the large volcanic areas, including Yellowstone which for awhile was raised to a threatening level a few years ago, though it has, I believe of this writing, subsided in activity somewhat, the rest of the Vulcan world has not. There is increased activity in Iceland, Hawaii, Indonesia, Chile, and the south pacific that cannot simply be dismissed as “average” though perhaps not affirmed as statistically significant either.

Unfortunately, we simply do not have much real data on the variations of such seismic and volcanic activity over the eons. We are able to see some of the big eruptions, and perhaps tie in some large releases of tephra and soot to some local volcanic eruption if it is large enough; but overall it is difficult to know how much activity seismic activity ranges over the eons. A large explosion in Indonesia will perhaps leave only a small trace in the Arctic ice fields and thus not indicate the severity of the explosion or increase of volcanic activity over the entire Earth. Thus ice deposits are only partially valuable in determining these departures from normal activity.

There is a high probability that future studies may well reveal massive swings in seismic activity, even over relatively short spans, as more and more data is gathered. It is nearly impossible to assume a constant or linear progression of volcanic activity. Even if the Earth were cooling steadily or if it were in a steady state, much less increasing in heat radiation over the eons, there would be a necessary corresponding reflection of this in the volcanic activity of the planet. Even if the Earth had remained constant in heat radiation over its entire life span, probability would indicate large random variations due to various causes-thus work remains to be done in determining these variations more precisely.

If we have a difficult time determining the historic behavior of volcanism on Earth, we have almost no way of determining historic earthquake activity with any dependability. Earthquakes do not leave long lasting records of their effects on Earth, at least not the smaller ones. Thus any increased activity over say a span of one hundred thousand years a million years ago would be virtually undetectable in our time. Therefore, it goes without saying that we have very little basis for denying an increased activity over the past ten years! Still, many geologists today admit that there has been an increase in earthquake activity in point of fact.

Glacier Melt is Causing the Earthquake Activity

However, these tend to dismiss this activity as being caused by the warming climate. They believe that the melting glaciers have allowed the Earth to expand as the weight of the glaciers has receded. This can in my view account for some very local activity at the poles perhaps, but would not easily explain the large earthquakes witnessed in Japan and Indonesia or Chile. In fact, thus far there have not been to my knowledge any records of large seismic movements in the pole regions of the Earth. Thus there is some difficulty in assigning the glacier melt to the increased seismic activity world-wide.

A few weeks ago, as of the writing of this post, there was a report about certain regions of the Earth expanding. These regions were around the equator and thus could not in any way be attributed to glacial activity. If this is true, and there are certain areas of the Earth expanding, then we must assume that for some reason there are deep changes in the Earth’s crust. For whatever reason, we must assume some large changes may be affecting the crust, and thus possibly affect seismic activity as well.

Is the Earth Cooling?

The standard theory concerning the radiation of heat from the Earth had been that the Earth was cooling down since its original creation. It had been assumed that as the planet settled down from its molten state it must have cooled substantially and continued to cool down to the present time. However after awhile it became evident that this might only be partly true. Yes the Earth likely did cool down from its original state, which probably was a molten state, but that this cooling has not continued at a steady state and that perhaps the Earth is not cooling down now.

The fact is that the Earth generates too much heat to be explained by the standard theory which is that tidal friction from the moon, as it is admitted at present, is the only source of heating of the Earth. It became necessary to look for another mechanism for this heat production and soon enough the idea of radioactive elements at the core might be the actual cause of the extra heat emanating from the Earth.

It had been noticed that asteroids seem to have a higher abundance of radioactive materials than are available on the Earth’s surface. So where had all this material gone to, if indeed the Earth is actually formed by the impact of asteroids and comets[i]? Well it could be in the core because such material is heavy and it probably sank to the core as the Earth cooled from its molten state[ii]. So it was assumed. The Earth therefore was not colder at present, only because radioactive material was warming up the core. This along with a little heat generated from the lunar and solar tides might explain why the Earth had not cooled down more over the eons since its creation. Yet when all was summed up once again, it simply did not explain the excess heat radiated by the Earth.

So the Earth was not cooling down without a fight. So much was true. The Earth radiates too much heat to be cooling off at the original rate imagined.

Earth’s Atmosphere insulates Heat Radiation

As we have maintained before, the Earth’s atmosphere may be insulating the heat loss. It is well known that carbon dioxide, both through natural and man-made causes will prevent heat from escaping into space. This will prevent solar heat from escaping, but also prevent infrared radiation from the Earth’s core from escaping as well. Thus there is some reason to believe that if indeed we are releasing carbon dioxide as a byproduct of our industries and transportation there is an added concern that it may be impeding the escape of core heat as well as solar heat. We have already mentioned that this may lead to increased volcanic activity as well as seismic activity. What we have not made clear as yet is that if in fact the Earth is not cooling-at least not cooling significantly, or too quickly, or more significantly, if it is actually increasing its heat output for any reason at all, then we may deduce that the excess carbon dioxide released by our industries over the past one hundred fifty years may well result in a significant amplification of any natural increase in Earthly core radiation. Thus if the Earth is actually heating up instead of cooling down as was supposed, there is then the grim possibility that after burning three billion years of carbon fuels in 150 years, we may wind up significantly amplifying any effects from a natural rise in core heat radiation-even if it turns out to be cyclical and temporary in nature!

Does the Earth go through Cyclical Variations in Heat output?

So let’s just summarize what we have so far. The Earth is not cooling down without resistance. There is heat generated from the Earth and it may well be enough to keep it from cooling down for many eons to come. Heat is being radiated back into space, and it is apparently more than it is receiving from the Sun or supposed by the calculation on frictional forces from the Moon and Sun. Moreover we cannot know for certain that the Earth is not actually warming up rather than cooling at the present time. So much is quite possible.

Thus if the Earth goes through periodic stages of increased core heat radiation, the presence of excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may well amplify such effects because the heat would not be allowed to escape normally as in a low CO2 atmosphere. Theoretically this heat would build up and being that the case, would probably result in excess volcanic activity, especially at the magma-crust boundary, and this would probably cause an increasing frequency of volcanism and seismic activity.

Unfortunately the result of these volcanic eruptions, will be a long term release of more CO2, and would further amplify and reinforce the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere and thus continue to make things worse. Thus we may have reached a point where we are in fact causing a feedback effect in the core temperature of the Earth! Should even a small relative rise be experienced, for us, an extremely vulnerable human society, living under extremely complex and delicate conditions, may result in a catastrophe of unheralded proportions as this heat may well be trapped by the extra CO2 and cause increasing volcanic activity. This activity itself would actually increase the levels of Co2 in the atmosphere and thus amplify the Greenhouse effect!

That is, if this mechanism is as described here. Fortunately, at least from a psychological stand point, we cannot as yet prove this. We simply do not have the datum or the analytical tools or experience required to “conclude” the verity of these possibilities. A time period of ten years on the geological time scale is frankly insignificant. If in fact we are experiencing a direct result of the aforementioned feedback mechanism, in such a small time period, then it would still be difficult to know what to expect in the near future. It could be anything from minor earthquake activity, or volcanic eruptions, to dire destruction. Problem is we just wouldn’t know, even if this mechanism described proved to be true, which frankly it is not. Much would depend on how much CO2 is being trapped, and this we can measure. But much more would depend on how much core heat is being trapped and this we can’t seem to measure, or at least it has not been measured as far as I know of this writing. This is a good experiment however. We may be able to measure any rises in temperature of the core simply by measuring the temperature of lava emerging from Volcanoes, or even measure the temperature of particular areas of land. This would take a very long time however, to get anything like a good reading. However we certainly know that the seas are in fact warming, as is the atmosphere. Is the warming of the seas being caused by a rising sub-surface temperature? Could well be. We don’t know yet.

However, even if we could get a good measure on the rate of heating in the core, or rather the sub-surface, we would still not have a good idea of how much this will affect the core itself. We do not really know what this extra heating is going to do. It may be that the Earth is extremely sensitive, and the result of that could be catastrophic. Or it could be that the Earth core is not particularly sensitive to any small rise in the sub-surface temperature. If so, then we may be out of the woods for awhile and perhaps conservation would help us avoid further disaster. Also, we cannot really know how accurate any readings are in human time scale, being that the Earth lives in Geological time scales, where a million years, would for our time scale experience be little more than what is a few hours.

Heat Radiation from the Core

Thus no matter what the final state of the Earth’s direction may be, whether it is heating, or cooling, or remaining the same, the same mechanism would apply: the Earth is radiating heat from the core in the form of waves of rising and falling amplitude. These waves would have many determinants, including density, pressure, heat, and insular qualities throughout the body of the planet. Temporal variations would apply. However, all told the radiation from the core would almost certainly proceed in waves. Thus there would not be a steady radiation of heat from the core as has been maintained for so long. The radiation of heat from the core would vary over time.

The primary reason for this variation is that the core has a different make up than the surface. The core is likely made of very dense materials packed together due to the compression of mass towards the center of the Earth. No matter what the material, whether Iron, or any other kind, it is certain that the high compression would yield less insulation than would the Earth’s crust and magma border at the crust. The insulation characteristics at the surface or near surface are likely greater than at the core since the material is less able to transfer heat that a highly compressed core material would probably transfer with more ease[iii]. We should also point out that the high heat and pressure at the core may well have a reverse effect since the higher a temperature the less likely it will respond to small increases in over all temperature. Thus there may be a tendency for the core heat to hoard until sometime when so much extra heat is trapped that it must be released in large waves. Issues such as these remain a serious concern for geologists at least on theoretical grounds. In the end all that can be said is that there is a great deal of uncertainty concerning the possible behavior of the Earth’s core when it comes to radiating heat over time and this should concern us.

However, once again our limitations will apply: we really don’t know enough about how any material behaves at the pressure and temperature that exists at the Earth’s core, or sub-surface. The truth is all our knowledge is deduced from very limited applications here on Earth under special laboratory conditions. This is not going to be enough to describe the true conditions of what is happening at the Earth’s core, any more than the Hadron collider would be able to describe the true state of a star’s core.

We do know that the Earth core temperature is higher than at the surface. This difference will cause a constant radiation of heat from the core to the surface and as we are well aware this will come in waves. The question is how large are those waves going to be, and what will be the effective period from peak to peak, that is, what is the frequency of these waves going to be?

We cannot doubt that there is heat radiating from the core, nor can anyone seriously doubt that this heat plays a vital role in the surface temperature. We need only look at San Francisco’s temperature to see what the ocean currents do for the climate, imagine what the sub surface currents may do to the temperature of the crust and sub-surface. It is most likely that the oceans are being warmed by this heat, and the rise in ocean temperature may well indicate a rise in core heat radiation.

The only real questions here are whether the Earth’s core temperature can rise even temporarily and thus cause an increase in radiation and volcanic activity at the same time.

The most likely case is that the Earth’s core, or at least its sub-surface temperature is not constant. Of this we can be nearly certain I think. All things in nature vary, why would this not vary? The cycles of the Sun’s activity, the Lunar perturbations, and the planetary attractions over billions of years will have caused some kind of variation in the heat output of the core. It is possible that a rise in CO2 may have also caused a rise in core temperature as well. It may be the case that the period of the Dinosaurs, the cretaceous, was in fact an indication of higher sub-surface radiation and the expansion of the Earth’s crust to compensate, this would explain the shallowness of the seas and increased volcanic activity, as to put it simply, the Earth bulged due to the excess heat. It has been noted that Yellowstone today is expanding. It has also been recently noted that the Earth’s crust has expanded over the past thirty years. Could this be due to increasing heat from the core? Is this due to the rise in CO2 acting as a significant insulator? There is certainly reason to be concerned. There is my opinion at least as much reason to be concerned of that, as we are concerned of climactic change. If CO2 can inhibit the atmosphere from releasing trapped heat, why not inhibit the Earth’s crust, why not inhibit the oceans?

In the end this question should not be ignored. The consequences of a warmer climate would be serious enough. The consequences of a warming core, would be life threatening.

Layered Differential Revolution

The Earth may be experiencing a differential revolution. That is to say that the surface of the Earth is being dragged by the moon’s gravity, as we have mentioned before. Recently it has been confirmed that in fact the core of the Earth is moving faster than the surface. However, it is most likely that this effect exists throughout the Earth’s body and begins at the surface and extends all the way to the core. This Layered Differential Rotation would cause an increase in heating due to inherent friction throughout the entire body of the Earth, and that this phenomenon may not have been accounted for thus far in determining the heat released by the Earth; this heat source would not end until the Moon reached it’s maximum orbital height millions if not billions of years from now!

I pose the following line of reasoning:

Think of a rotating globe having a radius r….now if suddenly this rotating globe had a contraction to say r/2, the globe would spin faster around its axis due to the conservation of angular momentum….true?

Now then what if this globe were to expand? If it were to expand then angular momentum conservation would require that the globe slow down its rate of angular rotation…..true?

However, what happens to the Earth when it is subjected to the Moon’s pull is that a certain part of the Earth expands more significantly than the deeper parts…however, that part, that high tide, will have the requirements of conservation of angular momentum as well and thus that part would lose some angular velocity.

However….in this case the expansion will not be proportional…the part of the globe nearer to the moon will expand faster, disproportionately faster….as will the part farther from the moon, the antipode….thus angular momentum will be conserved, but not in proportion to the rest of the body….those parts expanding more rapidly nearer to the Moon at the Lunar high tide, and those parts further away, at the antipode during the second tide-will slow down disproportionately to those deeper parts expanding more slowly..thus…you will have differential rotation since you will have a differential in angular velocity!

Now the argument would be that the Earth is solid and thus when the moon tugs on a small part of the Earth, it will immediately effect the deeper core as well through a direct mechanical force. But this is not so all the time. Tensor analysis can easily demonstrate that you would have a sheer from the higher levels to the lower deeper levels. I believe you may take the Tidal equations of La Place and apply them to the entire Earth’s structure directly in that they will consistently apply a differential force throughout the entire body of the Earth. In due time the Earth would behave much like the oceans do, only far more slowly. Thus the effects of the Moon’s gravity on the ocean’s tides, will also apply to the entire body of the Earth, after billions of years of repetition a marked deformation will take place. Over time, due to the constant repetition of these forces, due also to the differences in mass density, faults would develop over these tidal force regions-even in a solid core for that matter after so many repetitions. The Earth’s mantle being molten may in fact experience instantaneous tides and differential rotations. But slowly a differential motion and rotation would be the consequence of billions years of the same tidal force being applied. The recent confirmation of a differential rotation at the core itself would tend to strongly support this idea. Thus the Earth has a Layered Differential Rotation, and it is subject to tidal forces all the way to its core.

Differential Tangential Velocity

There is also a second mechanism which is that as the tide accelerates towards the highest point of Lunar gravitational pull, we will say it is the center of mass for the Lunar body, the Earth will gain inertia, just as the oceans gain inertia when they accelerate towards the Lunar center of mass. However just as the ocean tides continue past the center of mass point and create a tidal bulge ahead of the Lunar maximum, so will the rest of the Earth. There is therefore a tidal surge ahead of the Moon. The Moon will tug on this tidal surge which is ahead of it as it travels around it’s orbit and thus the tidal surge will actually pull on the Moon and thus accelerate it to a higher orbit. However, this also means that the Moon is going to slow down those particles that are nearest to it more than those which are further away, and deeper towards the sub-surface and core. Thus you will have a differential deceleration from the surface to the core. Once again the particles closer to the Moon will be affected more by the gravitation of the Moon than will the deeper particles. Thus there is in addition to the Differential angular velocity an actual differential deceleration that is slowing the Earth’s rotation in favor of a higher Moon orbit. Thus the Earth’s surface will slow down faster than the core. This too would explain the recent findings of the difference between core and surface velocity.

We must assume that over eons the various layers will develop their own inertial properties and a semi-permanent difference in velocity would occur.

What this likely means is that as the Earth grinds from layer to layer all the way to the core, heat will be released due to friction throughout the entire body of the Earth, and a a marked deformation will take place.

Tectonic Movements Caused by Differential Rotation

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This same Differential Rotation is likely the chief cause of the Tectonic Plate movements. As the Moon lifts the continents upward, they lose angular velocity and the lower regions pass them by. The fault structure of the Earth would strongly indicate this as you can see that the continental drift seems westward as the relatively smaller North American continent for example is being moved westward, torn apart from the large Eurasian continent as it accelerates towards the Pacific ocean. It could well be that he formation of high mountain regions may well accelerate this motion and so as mountain regions formed in the western United States it accelerated the actual movement west and the system developed its own feedback amplification. The higher the mountains grow, the greater the differential movement, the greater the mountains grow. In any case, this much is speculation, but it seems plausible.

The differential tangential velocity will also result in a force being generated against these plates. Thus the tectonic movements are most probably caused by a differential rotation, a differential deceleration and possibly to convection as well.

The Earth may not be Cooling

In the end however, it is important to understand that this mechanism of Layered Differential Rotation must cause the release of vast amounts of heat deep within the body of the Earth. Thus far we have assumed that heat generation was limited mostly to the surface of the Earth and due to nothing more than the minor tidal deformation. We have reason to believe now that this deformation is far more extensive and probably far more long lasting. Thus there is here good reason to suspect that the Earth may not be cooling after all. This may have significant consequences down the line. A variable rate of radiation heating from the core would mean there are times when the Earth gets hot all over. Such times may be more frequent than we have thought, and the effects of Carbon Dioxide release into the atmosphere may well amplify these effects significantly.

P.S. This same differential Rotation would explain the heat production of Jupiter without resort to nuclear material at the core. If different parts of Jupiter are rotating at different rates, or if this differential rotation is present throughout the depth of the planet, then it would serve to explain the huge amount of heat present in the planet. No doubt this would be caused by the drag of its moons, and the drag of the Sun.

Note how Uranus has no such heat source, and note also how it lays on its side with no constant tidal effects even from the Sun, and with no significant Moons. Despite being a virtual twin to Neptune, yet Neptune is a far more dynamic planet and a far warmer planet as we have stated before in an earlier post.

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[i] There is a new theory that Earth and planets were formed by the remaining material in the nascent solar system, after the sun reached critical mass. I very strongly disagree with this theory as you will see later. This theory fails to explain what is an obvious characteristic of the solar system.

 

[ii] Another point which I strongly disagree with. Heavy material may survive in space but the idea that it would survive on a molten planet is unlikely. The excess heat and pressure will speed up the radioactive decay of these heavier elements and besides this, once again the idea violates a basic characteristic of the solar system which again I will explain shortly in a future post.

 

[iii] I would like to say that I am certain of this last conclusion about the insular differences between the core and the crust, unfortunately this is only speculation since we just don’t know what the Earth’s core really is made of or how it behaves in regards to the heat that is either formed there or trapped there or both.

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