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Val Trottan
2003-Mar-19, 10:34 PM
Can anyone help me out with some research into the most modern, the most wacky, and the most widely accepted theories regarding the Earth's core?
Is the Earth like a jawbreaker with layered strata leading down from the crust to the mantle(s) to the core?
Is it hollow?
Can you dig to China?
Did someone try?
How deep is the deepest hole humans have dug so far?
Is the core enriched with uranium, giving the Earth its electromagnetic properties or is it a spinning mass of molten materials?
I know this really isn't astronomy (although the Earth is a planet in someone's sky somewhere ... I hope).
Can someone point me in the right direction?
Phil?
JS?
Kilopi?

Thanks if you can.

informant
2003-Mar-19, 10:36 PM
Tsk, tsk, tsk... /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif Where have you been? (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?topic=3217&forum=4&85)

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: informant on 2003-03-19 17:37 ]</font>

TriangleMan
2003-Mar-19, 10:47 PM
On 2003-03-19 17:34, Val Trottan wrote:
Can anyone help me out with some research into the most modern, the most wacky, and the most widely accepted theories regarding the Earth's core?
Is the Earth like a jawbreaker with layered strata leading down from the crust to the mantle(s) to the core?
Is it hollow?
Can you dig to China?
Did someone try?
How deep is the deepest hole humans have dug so far?
Is the core enriched with uranium, giving the Earth its electromagnetic properties or is it a spinning mass of molten materials?
I know this really isn't astronomy (although the Earth is a planet in someone's sky somewhere ... I hope).
Can someone point me in the right direction?
Phil?
JS?
Kilopi?

Thanks if you can.



I'm not a geologist but . . .

I think the 'layer' theory is the most widely accepted. The earth has 4 or 5 layers: crust, upper mantle, lower mantle, and maybe one or two core layers.

No, the Earth is not hollow. There was a recent thread that discussed hollow moon/earth:

http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?topic=4161&forum=2

Dig to China? I tried when I was 8 years old /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif. This site claims the deepest hole is 40,000 feet:

http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF7/725.html

Don't know about the uranium but I thought the core was primarily composed of iron & nickel, which is what creates the magnetic field.

Hope this starts you off on the right foot!

(If anyone seeing this is well-versed in geology please step in and provide more info)

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: TriangleMan on 2003-03-19 17:48 ]</font>

g99
2003-Mar-20, 12:18 AM
On 2003-03-19 17:34, Val Trottan wrote:
Is the Earth like a jawbreaker with layered strata leading down from the crust to the mantle(s) to the core?

Yes! (from inside out)
Inner core -> outer core-> mantle-> Astenosphere-> crust (oceanic or continental)


Is it hollow?

No. the mass of the crust would crush it like stepping on a ping pong ball


Can you dig to China?
Did someone try?

I have in my playground sandbox when i was a kid. All i got to was the bottom of the sandbox.

Seriously, Impossible today. The pressure and heat in the mantle and lower crust could kill you. So far we have no material that can stand the heat of the core. If my memory serves me right the core is the same temperature as the corona of the sun.


How deep is the deepest hole humans have dug so far?

Andswered above. Some gold and diamond mines in africa are 3.5km deep.
See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/scienceshack/backcat/adamexp/wldeepmines.shtml


Is the core enriched with uranium, giving the Earth its electromagnetic properties or is it a spinning mass of molten materials?

The magnetic field (at least how my professor explains it) is from the solid core spinning very fast inside the liquid conductive outer core.

On the other hand, radioactive Uranium and other radioactive materials do help to keep the core and mantle hot. They also drive most of the earths tectonic and volcanic processes.

Added this: The radioactive decay is not the only porcess that drives the earth's proceses but without it we would not have any of them.

Hope this helps. If i am wrong at any point, please correct me! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

_________________
"Watch out for falling coconuts!".
"It takes Thousands to fight a battle for a mile, Millions to hold an election for a nation, but it only takes One to change the world." - Dan Sandler 2002

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: g99 on 2003-03-19 19:21 ]</font>

daver
2003-Mar-20, 01:58 AM
On 2003-03-19 17:34, Val Trottan wrote:

Can you dig to China?



Well, if you were going to dig straight down to China you'd need to start in South America. From North America you'd have to dig at an angle. If you're digging at an angle, you might as well dig at a large angle--go down a bit and dig a tunnel. You'd probably go over the north pole to avoid the ring of fire. So, the question could be translated into what's the longest tunnel.

It's probably easier to go to Washington D.C. and dig a tunnel to the Chinese Embassy. That's supposed to be legally Chinese soil, isn't it?


However, if you want an actual answer to your question, the only practical way to dig to China is to dig a tunnel, from somewhere close to China. I'd expect that it is almost certain that someone, somewhere, has dug a tunnel under one of the Chinese borders for some reason or another. So the answers are almost certainly yes, it is possible, and yes, someone has tried it.

Val Trottan
2003-Mar-20, 02:25 PM
Thanks guys.

(Informant ... I'm somewhat new and have not visited all the areas here on Bad Astronomy bulletin board yet.)

I'll look through that board and see if I need anything else answered ...

Thanks again.

(I should have known you guys would have picked this apart already. I'm still stunned its getting moderately good reviews so far even from Discover Mag.)

Crow T Robot
2003-Mar-20, 03:34 PM
Dig to china, sure you can and from an engineering standpoint it's easy, just depends on where you start.

If you define "digging to China" as a hole straight through the Earth that exits in China: then simply start in say Mongolia near the China/Mongolian border. Dig a hole that is parallel to a tangent line at the surface of the earth a couple of inches/feet below the surface at the border. You have then dug a hole straight through the earth and come out the other side, in China.

kilopi
2003-Mar-20, 04:38 PM
On 2003-03-19 19:18, g99 wrote:
The magnetic field (at least how my professor explains it) is from the solid core spinning very fast inside the liquid conductive outer core.
'Fraid not. If the magnetic field were generated by a spinning core, then it would depend upon the orientation of the core--but it rotates with the mantle and crust.

The rotation rate of the solid inner core is almost identical to the mantle, in so far as we can tell. They did detect a slight difference a few years back, but it was on the order of one rotation every few hundred years (and one year is 365 rotations).


On the other hand, radioactive Uranium and other radioactive materials do help to keep the core and mantle hot. They also drive most of the earths tectonic and volcanic processes.
Radiogenic heat is more important in the crust. Apparently, those elements tended to end up there.


Added this: The radioactive decay is not the only porcess that drives the earth's proceses but without it we would not have any of them.
I'm not sure that would be true, at least qualitatively.

The Shade
2003-Mar-20, 04:54 PM
On 2003-03-19 19:18, g99 wrote:
Seriously, Impossible today. The pressure and heat in the mantle and lower crust could kill you. So far we have no material that can stand the heat of the core. If my memory serves me right the core is the same temperature as the corona of the sun.


I think you mean the sun's photosphere, aprox. 5,500 kelvin. The sun's corona is millions of kelvin. If the core were that hot, we'd all be charbroiled to a crisp.

logicboy
2003-Mar-20, 05:39 PM
How deep is the deepest hole humans have dug so far?



In Russia, on the Kola peninsula.
Over a period of more than a decade a huge purpose-built rig drilled to over 12 kilometres!!!

Man thats deep

Marianas Trench is over 11km deep

TriangleMan
2003-Mar-20, 06:12 PM
On 2003-03-20 12:39, logicboy wrote:
In Russia, on the Kola peninsula.
Over a period of more than a decade a huge purpose-built rig drilled to over 12 kilometres!!!


Logicboy, do you have a reference? I was just curious, my link above is also in regards to the Kola dig but it is from 1985 so its interesting that they have managed to dig that deep.

nebularain
2003-Mar-20, 06:56 PM
This web page gives a nice diagram of the Earth's layers by thickness:
http://pubs.usgs.gov/publications/text/inside.html

These two web pages give a nice diagram of the Earth's layers by composition (they both have the same picture; the first gives a brief explanation, the second gives more info for someone who really wants to understand what is going on).
http://jersey.uoregon.edu/~mstrick/AskGeoMan/geoQuerry8.html
http://www.seismo.unr.edu/ftp/pub/louie/class/100/interior.html

This article has a very interesting perspective on the planets electromagnetism (don't ask me to evaluate the accuracy or feasibility of it; I'm just pulling up things from a Google search):
http://www.ufoindia.org/article_gravityelectromag.htm

Val Trottan
2003-Mar-20, 07:27 PM
This is all very good stuff. I certainly will try my best to get a reference to the Bad Astronomy Website into the story (which will be the lede story for the lifestyle page on or abouts the 28th) especially if you review it yourself Phil.

Hint.

Here's what the movie's press production informations states:

"For reasons unknown, the Earth's inner core has stopped rotating, causing the planet's electromagnetic field to rapidly deteriorate. Instantly, life around the globe begins to change dramatically. In Boston, 32 people with pacemakers, all within a 10-block radius, suddenly drop dead. In San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge collapses, sending hundreds of people plunging to their deaths. In London's Trafalgar Square, flocks of pigeons lose their ability to navigate, flying into panicked crowds, slamming into their windshields and causing drivers to lose control of their cars."

(My note: This isn't making me want to see it so far ... any of you?)

"And in Rome, as thousands of tourists watch helplessly, an electrical storm reduces the ancient Colosseum to rubble.
Scrambling to resolve the crisis, government and military officials call upon geophysicist Dr. Josh Keyes and a team of the world's most gifted scientists to travel into the earth's core in a subterreanean craft piloted by "terranauts." Their mission: Detonate a nuclear device that will reactivate the core and save the world from sure destruction."

Now ... we can really discuss the premise, eh?

logicboy
2003-Mar-20, 07:28 PM
On 2003-03-20 14:24, logicboy wrote:
I heard it somewhere but i forgot so i did some research here are some links.

Link 1 (http://jersey.uoregon.edu/~mstrick/AskGeoMan/geoQuerry40.html)
Link 2 (http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF7/725.html)
Link 3 (http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/mar97/855593397.Es.r.html)

Hope these links help.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: logicboy on 2003-03-20 14:29 ]</font>

Val Trottan
2003-Mar-20, 07:30 PM
Oh and ... I WILL be mentioning the Bad Astronomy site for sure.

David Hall
2003-Mar-20, 08:49 PM
On 2003-03-20 14:27, Val Trottan wrote:

especially if you review it yourself Phil.

Hint.


The BA has mentioned his intention to review this movie a few times, so I don't think you have much to worry about there. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

g99
2003-Mar-20, 11:49 PM
See...i stand corrected! Thanks guys. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

g99
2003-Mar-20, 11:51 PM
On 2003-03-20 14:27, Val Trottan wrote:
This is all very good stuff. I certainly will try my best to get a reference to the Bad Astronomy Website into the story (which will be the lede story for the lifestyle page on or abouts the 28th) especially if you review it yourself Phil.


What paper are you writing for? I will try to pick it up.



Hint.

Here's what the movie's press production informations states:
In London's Trafalgar Square, flocks of pigeons lose their ability to navigate, flying into panicked crowds, slamming into their windshields and causing drivers to lose control of their cars."



So somehow the core stopping causes pigeons to go blind? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif

Lexx_Luthor
2003-Mar-21, 04:15 AM
So somehow the core stopping causes pigeons to go blind? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif This could be a *method* to convey the idea of the loss of Earth's magnetic field which would happen if the Earth's core stopped doing whatever it does. One must use entertainment devices like that in movies unless you want it confined to Discovery Channel.

Basically, this is science fiction for the public. If the "science" used by Hollywood causes one nightmares, one may start wondering why ~98% of western university students claim they HATE physics. Or, one may abandon Hollywood forever and get their sci~fi from Canada. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Perhaps wrongly, but judging by Hollywood's recent science fiction, I am not expecting much from this movie. Interestingly, J. Marvin Herndon @ http://www.nuclearplanet.com was on Coast to Coast Genocide with George Noorey with one of the makers of The Core and they hit it off well (although they claimed not to hear about each other until the movie was mostly done). I didn't hear much of the program so I dunno.

Honestly, I would wait to see the movie before I comment. It is legendary how the USA Sci~Fi Channel advertised Canada's LEXX as "sex" when it could be argued that it was an instrument for teaching sexual abstinence. I relied on the ads and avoided it until I tuned in by mistake one night. I will never again judge anything before observing it--something that BA recently drove home by saying something about obvserving the trees before making statements about the forest (if I got that right /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif ).

Val Trottan
2003-Mar-21, 02:36 PM
G ...

I write for the Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, Florida.
This story would appear either the 28th or the 29th - depending on other coverage (review) and when that runs.
I'm not reviewing the movie (as cinema); I'm "reviewing" it's science.

Byrd
2003-Mar-21, 02:44 PM
Lemme stand up for my colleagues who write science fiction and say that this is Movie-Fantasy and not Sci-Fi. The authors who write scifi (particularly hard scifi, like Cherryh and Bujold) are quite knowledgeable -- as are the editors at major scifi houses and magazines.

ToSeek
2003-Mar-21, 03:40 PM
On 2003-03-20 18:51, g99 wrote:


On 2003-03-20 14:27, Val Trottan wrote:

In London's Trafalgar Square, flocks of pigeons lose their ability to navigate, flying into panicked crowds, slamming into their windshields and causing drivers to lose control of their cars."



So somehow the core stopping causes pigeons to go blind? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif


There is good evidence that birds use magnetic field lines to migrate, though I rather doubt that this extends to pigeons finding their way to the other side of Trafalgar Square.

g99
2003-Mar-21, 08:16 PM
I know that pigeons use magnetic fields to navigate. But where does that entail going around cars and building? Unless something new in architecture has come about, buildings don't have large magnetic fields that say "Go Away!".
-----------------
Val Trottan: Dang. I'm in Gainesville (Go UF!), does you paper have a website?

ToSeek
2003-Mar-21, 08:28 PM
On 2003-03-21 15:16, g99 wrote:
Unless something new in architecture has come about, buildings don't have large magnetic fields that say "Go Away!".



Ooh, I want one of those!

darkhunter
2003-Mar-21, 09:04 PM
On 2003-03-21 15:28, ToSeek wrote:


On 2003-03-21 15:16, g99 wrote:
Unless something new in architecture has come about, buildings don't have large magnetic fields that say "Go Away!".



Ooh, I want one of those!



Me too--on my truck!

Val Trottan
2003-Mar-21, 09:43 PM
g99: Yep. pbpost.com or PalmBeachPost.com
I think either works.
The text usually appears online. We are gathering up our designers to put together as awesome a graphic on the Earth and its interior as we can. Pity that it may not appear online.
I'm preparing the story and facts over the weekend and prob. have until Wednesday to finalize. I'm taking many things off this site and board (and it will be referenced accordingly in the story), so it's going to be rather solid in fact *unlike the movie.

Heh.

daver
2003-Mar-21, 10:18 PM
On 2003-03-21 15:16, g99 wrote:
I know that pigeons use magnetic fields to navigate. But where does that entail going around cars and building? Unless something new in architecture has come about, buildings don't have large magnetic fields that say "Go Away!".
-----------------
Val Trottan: Dang. I'm in Gainesville (Go UF!), does you paper have a website?



Maybe you can modify the electric trolleys to say "Come Here".

Hmm. This reminds me of a Tom Lehrer song.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: daver on 2003-03-21 17:19 ]</font>

Kaptain K
2003-Mar-22, 04:19 AM
Val,
We have a common employer. I work for the Austin American Statesman, also a Cox newspaper. I work on the production side though, rather than the writing side.