Another Journey to the Centre of the Earth
From Kea in New Zealand to Nige in the UK, Lubos in the Czech Republic and Tommaso in Italy, this blog has gained friends worldwide. The latest is Vladimir Barquisimeto from Venezuela in his blog La Cueva del Lobo. (The Wolf's Lair) He has said some very nice things, which hopefully my poor Spanish can do justice to.
"All cosmologists are overweight, old and boring men, or at least that is what we have come to believe...get to know Dr. Louise Riofrio, this Hawaiian, who is revolutionizing the way to comprehend our Universe.
"Black Holes are immense objects that exist far away in the centre of the galaxy, devouring stars and consuming all existence. But another type of Black Holes also exists; after the Big Bang the initial singularity divided into many fragments, some were supermassive, but many others were very small, including microscopic.
"Dr. Riofrio considers whether these mini-holes were an essential part of the development of the Universe, including whether our existence may have been impossible without them. She has suggested that one of these micro-singularities exists just beneath our feet, in the centre of the Earth."
Thank you, Vladimir! Carl has asked how we know there is a discontinuity 300 km from Earth's centre. This inner, inner core was discovered in 2002 by Adam Dzienwonski of Harvard and graduate student Miaki Ishii. Earth's inner core, 1150 km in radius, was discovered in 1936 by Danish seismologist Inge Lehmann. In the early 1970's Dzienwonski and Freeman Gilbert showed that the inner core is solid within a liquid outer core.
The inner, inner core was found by examining 30 years of data covering many thousands of seismic waves. (One suspects that the woman graduate student did most of this work.) Despite Professor Dzeinwonski's credentials, two journals rejected their paper before Proceedings of the National Academy accepted it. "A lot of people resist new ideas," Dzeinwonski concluded.
Inge Lehmann analyzed the paths of waves with names like PKP to find the core boundary. The strongest wave of all should be PKJKP, a wave travelling straight through Earth's centre and out the other side. The PKJKP wave has never been reliably detected; something sucks it up! Scientists have never figured out what could swallow the energy of an earthquake. Lack of the PKJKP wave is evidence for a Black Hole in the Earth.
At a film industry event I met the bodacious BRENDAN FRASER, star of THE MUMMY and GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE. His newest adventure is JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. Brendan plays a scientist whose theories get him banished from the scientific community. Is resistance to new ideas a constant of the Universe? The movie populates Earth's core with dinosaurs and other fantastic creatures. We know more about Space than we know about Earth's interior. Like Space, Earth's core could hold wonders like a primordial Black Hole.