According to the researchers, the Earth’s core is cooling faster than previously thought, which could accelerate the planet’s inevitable move toward uninhabitability in millions or billions of years.
Earth’s interior has gradually cooled over its 4.5 billion years of existence – a generally favorable pattern as the planet evolved into what is now the verdant paradise where humans have thrived for the past 200,000 years.
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The scientists wrote in a research paper published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
However, how fast this process takes place is the subject of ongoing research.
A group of scientists has studied bridgemanite, a common conductive mineral between the Earth’s core and mantle.
They found that it was 1.5 times more conductive than previously thought, meaning the Earth’s cooling process could also be faster than previously thought.
“We found that the total thermal conductivity at the core-mantle interface is 1.5 times higher than the traditionally assumed value, favoring higher heat flux from the core and thus convection in the mantle being more vigorous than expected,” added add the researchers. .
“The results indicate that the mantle cooled more efficiently and ultimately dampened much of the convection-driven tectonic activity in the mantle faster than would be expected from conventional heat conduction behavior.”
As the planet cools, it loses its magnetic field, which protects Earth from harmful cosmic rays. At that time the earth will be a sterile and uninhabitable rock.
Researchers don’t risk guessing how many years life on Earth might have.
A 2013 projection by Andrew Rashby of the University of East Anglia in the UK thought Earth could survive for another 1.75 to 3.25 billion years, assuming there was no nuclear catastrophe, a rogue asteroid or other unforeseen disaster.