Public Release: 

Clues to the Earth's ancient core

Michigan Technological University

IMAGE?

IMAGE: Aleksey Smirnov drills into an outcrop in Australia's Widgiemooltha dike swarm. view more

Credit: Aleksey Smirnov, Michigan Tech

Old rocks hold on to their secrets. Now, a geophysicist at Michigan Technological University has unlocked clues trapped in the magnetic signatures of mineral grains in those rocks. These clues will help clear up the murky history of the Earth's early core.

The journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters published a paper on the subject earlier this year. Aleksey Smirnov, an associate professor of geophysics and adjunct associate professor of physics at Michigan Tech, led the study.

The work took him Down Under, where he drilled into rock outcrops in Australia's Widgiemooltha dike swarm that are more than two billion years old. Studying rocks this old--and extracting data from them--is tricky but helps unravel the core's mysteries.

However, Smirnov's findings created their own mystery: the magnetic readings were significantly larger than anticipated. This could have implications for early life on earth.

###

To learn more about Smirnov's research, read the full story about his work here: http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2015/june/clues-earths-ancient-core.html

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.