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Earth's Magnetic Field

Geodynamo simulation of magnetic field lines


Earth's Magnetic Field

A geodynamo simulation computed on Pittsburgh Supercomputer Center's LeMieux supercomputer shows inward-directed magnetic field lines (blue) and outwar-directed lines (red). The complicated field of the core becomes smoother at Earth's mantle. Gary Glatzmaier of the University of California, Santa Cruz and his colleague Paul Roberts of UCLA developed the first computational model of these geodynamic processes that evolves on its own self consistently. This model has successfully simulated many features of Earth's magnetic field, including magnetic-field reversal, a recognized phenomenon that has happened many times over Earth's history. In recent work with LeMieux, Glatzmaier and graduate student Darcy Ogden have investigated heat from radioactive decay in the inner core as a buoyancy source that may help to drive the geodynamo.

This research is supported by National Science Foundation grants EAR 99-02969 and EAR 02-21941. (Date of Image: Sept. 5, 2004)

Credit: Gary Glatzmaier, University of California, Santa Cruz; Paul H. Roberts, UCLA; Darcy E. Ogden, UC Santa Cruz

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