Source of the Geomagnetic field

Almost a century ago,or perhaps more than a century ago, science determined from the knowledge that the earth had a magnetic field that the only place it could have been generated was in the core via a dynamo mechanism. Science then did not know about the solar wind, electrified space plasma or the Van Allen belts. Science could not have explained it any other way. Science did not know about space electricity so the standard model then involved a simple radiating sun, and inert matter-less space in which were suspended planets all behaving according to the laws of motion described by Isaac Newton. Science knew about electric currents in wires and the generation of magnetic fields, but as science also was totally ignorant of space plasma, the earth-centred dynamo theory was the only plausible explanation possible.

Geomagnetic field

Fast forward to 2014 and we now know about space plasma, the Van Allen Belts, the solar wind, electric plasma, magnetic flux tubes and Birkeland currents. Knowing what we know about how to generate a simple dipole magnetic field using a coil of wire and a conductor inside the coil, it is strange, is it not, that we still stick to the belief that the geomagnetic field is produced in the earth’s core by the dynamo model.

But if we know that the Van Allen belt is simply a torus of electric charge rotating around the earth’s ‘axis’ and that this is an analog of a simple solenoid made of a length of wire wrapped around a conductor, and then asked what is generating the geomagnetic field, one would preferentially use the solenoid model as the explanation, realising that no one has yet been able to generate a magnetic field from rotating a liquid conductor. Science is all about using the known to explain observations.

However the religious mind will stay with the earth-centred dynamo model while the scientific mind, cognisant of new data, would realise that it is more likely that the geomagnetic field is produced by the Van Allen Belts than by some some unobserved dynamo model in the earth’s core.

And this present model will be probably falsified or improved with additional knowledge as time goes on but it will do as a starting point.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
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6 Responses to Source of the Geomagnetic field

  1. A. D. HALL says:

    Reblogged this on The Daily Plasma and commented:
    I’m re-posting this nicely written, concise piece of reasoning to introduce Louis Hissink’s Crazy World, which happens to be an electrical one. Well all of ours is, but he’s actually aware of it and quite thoughtful about it. There are many interesting, insightful articles at his site. Cheers, Louise!

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  2. Could it be an interaction between the earth’s crust and the Van Allen belts? I believe “ethers” were believed to exist throughout history. Could the ancients have been describing the Van Allen belts, or other electro-magnetic fields? The way the geologic formations have lined up, through long time, give clues to forces other than what we’ve measured with instruments.

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    • Bruce Leybourne has suggested one explanation for the coupling of the ionosphere to the crust via the transformer connection, in which currents are induced in the crust.

      On the other hand Gerry Pollack has proposed that the emission of principally protons from the oceans causing winds may also be a contributing factor to the geomagnetic field.

      The ancients, as suggested by the petroglyph studies, described plasma instabilities in the sky that, of course, had to be connected to the ionosphere.

      But we have no eway of knowing what knowledge the ancients had, let alone that they understood the principles behind a magnetic field.

      It is true that stupendous forces operated during the past to result in the observed structures we study study in the field of tectonics, but those were reactions or adaptions to short term forcings or impulsives imposed on the earth by external agents.

      A popular explanation is that of ‘Pole Shifts’ where the earth is caused to careen inverting north and south, but the only ‘evidence’ we have of that possibility is that related by Herodotus as described to him by the Egyptians, who reckoned that previously the sun rose in the west and set in the east. This is inexplicable if gravity is the only force we have to explain motion. But it becomes slightly easier to explain if we also add plasma forces (Lorentz) to the mix but that requires a catastrophic scenario which remains taboo in mainstream science.

      Of course imagining a future catastrophe from a mythical runaway greenhouse mechanism isn’t any less catastrophic but the paradox of rejecting a catastrophic past while in the same breath believing in a catastrophic future can only be explained by a persistent lack of self awareness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve believed in an electromagnetic explanation for as long as I can remember. The idea of “frequencies” outside the measureable spectrum to account for everything from taste to weight. Rosicrucians and some other disciplines believe everything is composed of “vibrations.” Orientals believe in “qi,” or “life force.” “The Tao of Physics” goes into the symbolic affinity between oriental philosophy and modern physics.

        Astrology is based on the idea of attraction and repulsion, as determined by planetary frequencies, the angles they make to each other (“hard” or “soft” angles), and certain facts, such that Uranus has a horizontal axis. (Planet of eccentricity, among other things.)

        Edgar Cayce predicted a polar axis shift, but didn’t specify north to south. Maybe the planet will just topple over and we’ll have a horizontal axis, too.

        And what about sun spots?

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  3. Sunspots? Probably alternating electrical plasma discharges.

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  4. Love it. I hope it is reasonably long-lived as an explanation.

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