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Primeur weekly 2013-11-04

The Cloud

Clustrix announces industry's first scale-out database for real-time analytics on live operational data ...

IDC MarketScape names DataDirect Networks a leader in object-based storage market ...

George Washington School of Engineering and Applied Science receives grant to improve Cloud computing reliability ...

Calxeda announces new fabric-­based platform for Clouds ...

Securing data for Cloud computing ...

Expensify selects Oracle Sales Cloud to empower growing sales team ...

Baylor, DNAnexus, Amazon Web Services collaboration enables largest-ever Cloud-based analysis of genomic data ...

Red Hat launches new initiative to drive enterprise adoption of OpenStack ...

SoftLayer, an IBM company, and Cloudera launch turnkey Big Data solutions on bare metal servers ...

CANCOM accelerates client innovation through the Cloud with IBM PureSystems ...

European managed services provider taps IBM Flash for faster Cloud solutions ...

Desktop Grids

New Virtual Team to promote Desktop Grids among the EGI scientific communities ...

New BoincTasks version release issued ...

Remotis Technologies achieves milestone with World Community Grid ...

EuroFlash

N8 supercomputer tracks first dinosaur steps in over 90 million years ...

Cray expands research and development in Europe ...

Points north: the future on display in Lithuania ...

Points north: the future on display in Lithuania - Part II ...

New California Energy Commission study validates energy savings of Asetek RackCDU for data centres ...

PRACE event "HPC@Horizon2020" rallies support for "Supercomputers for all" ...

PRACE Winter School 2014 to be held in Tel Aviv, Israel ...

New insight into the Earth's deep interior ...

The ALiX project provides Tenerife with Teide-HPC, the second most powerful supercomputer in Spain ...

New material for quantum computing discovered out of the blue ...

USFlash

National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) drives major scientific discoveries with powerful, converged, site-wide storage from DataDirect Networks ...

RainStor delivers Hadoop on EMC Isilon NAS for efficient Big Data management ...

HP helps Johnson Memorial Hospital deliver high-quality patient care ...

New insight into the Earth's deep interior


Jean Favre / CSCS
16 Oct 2013 Zurich - For 300 years we have known that the Earth's magnetic field moves gradually westward. Computer simulations on the CSCS supercomputer "Monte Rosa" explain why this happens.

The Earth's magnetic field surrounding our globe protects the Earth from harmful radiation and helps animals like birds or bats to get their bearings. The Earth's magnetic field is mainly generated by the so-called geodynamo processes in the liquid outer core and in the solid inner core. Philip Livermore from the University of Leeds along with Rainer Hollerbach and Andrew Jackson from ETH Zurich have now demonstrated for the first time, using computer simulations on the CSCS supercomputer "Monte Rosa", that the magnetic field in turn influences these dynamic processes in the Earth's core. Hence, the magnetic field leads to the solid inner core - which is about the size of the moon - rotating in an easterly direction and the outer core fluid and magnetic field being pushed westward. The latter was already observed back in 1692 by the discoverer of Halley's comet, the natural scientist Edmund Halley, but could not be explained up to now.

The scientists used new methods for their simulation and worked in particular with a viscosity that was two orders of magnitude lower and thus 100 times closer to reality than in previous models. The scientists said that this was how they had succeeded in achieving correspondingly higher resolutions of certain physical processes in the Earth's core. The simulations show that the force of the Earth's magnetic field in the outermost region of the liquid core drives the magnetic field westwards. At the same time, these very forces give the solid inner core a thrust towards the east. This leads to Earth's inner core having a higher rotation speed than the Earth.

Based on their study the researchers came to the conclusion that even subtle changes in the Earth's inner magnetic field can lead to the respective directions of movement being reversed. This, in turn, explains the observation that over the last 3,000 years the Earth's magnetic field has shifted on several occasions eastward instead of westward. It was likely that the Earth's inner core then rotated in a westerly direction, instead of eastwards. According to the researchers even the smallest changes in the magnetic field could have led to different rotation speeds of the inner core. The research team of Hrvoje Tkalcic at the Australian National University recently made just such an observation of spin rate fluctuations over the last 50 years.

Numerical models of the Earth's magnetic field rank among the most computer-intensive simulations in high performance computing. In the simulations systems of equations governing fluid dynamics, classical mechanics and thermodynamics have to be solved. Together with seismic measurements, such simulations are the only tool for researching the Earth's interior from depths of 2,900 kilometres all the way to the Earth's centre at a depth of 6,378 kilometres. In recent decades studies of this kind have made enormous contributions to understanding what happens in the Earth's interior.

Livermore P.W., Hollerbach R., Jackson A. are the authors of "Electromagnetically driven westward drift and inner-core superrotation in Earth's core", which has appeared inPNAS2013, 110, 15914-15918; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1307825110.

Source: ETH Zurich

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2013-11-04

The Cloud

Clustrix announces industry's first scale-out database for real-time analytics on live operational data ...

IDC MarketScape names DataDirect Networks a leader in object-based storage market ...

George Washington School of Engineering and Applied Science receives grant to improve Cloud computing reliability ...

Calxeda announces new fabric-­based platform for Clouds ...

Securing data for Cloud computing ...

Expensify selects Oracle Sales Cloud to empower growing sales team ...

Baylor, DNAnexus, Amazon Web Services collaboration enables largest-ever Cloud-based analysis of genomic data ...

Red Hat launches new initiative to drive enterprise adoption of OpenStack ...

SoftLayer, an IBM company, and Cloudera launch turnkey Big Data solutions on bare metal servers ...

CANCOM accelerates client innovation through the Cloud with IBM PureSystems ...

European managed services provider taps IBM Flash for faster Cloud solutions ...

Desktop Grids

New Virtual Team to promote Desktop Grids among the EGI scientific communities ...

New BoincTasks version release issued ...

Remotis Technologies achieves milestone with World Community Grid ...

EuroFlash

N8 supercomputer tracks first dinosaur steps in over 90 million years ...

Cray expands research and development in Europe ...

Points north: the future on display in Lithuania ...

Points north: the future on display in Lithuania - Part II ...

New California Energy Commission study validates energy savings of Asetek RackCDU for data centres ...

PRACE event "HPC@Horizon2020" rallies support for "Supercomputers for all" ...

PRACE Winter School 2014 to be held in Tel Aviv, Israel ...

New insight into the Earth's deep interior ...

The ALiX project provides Tenerife with Teide-HPC, the second most powerful supercomputer in Spain ...

New material for quantum computing discovered out of the blue ...

USFlash

National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) drives major scientific discoveries with powerful, converged, site-wide storage from DataDirect Networks ...

RainStor delivers Hadoop on EMC Isilon NAS for efficient Big Data management ...

HP helps Johnson Memorial Hospital deliver high-quality patient care ...