physics of the Earth and its environment in space. Its subjects include the shape of the Earth, its gravitational and magnetic fields, the dynamics of the Earth as a whole and of its component parts, the Earth's internal structure, the generation of magmas, the hydrological cycle including snow and ...

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9
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4answers
1k views

How do we know that earth is not perfect sphere?

I've just read here that: Equatorial radius = 6378.16 kilometers. Polar radius = 6356.78 kilometers, so the difference in circumference is 71.1 kilometers. It is not a perfect sphere, but kind ...
5
votes
2answers
464 views

How does Earth's interior dynamo work?

I'm interested in getting a basic physical understanding of how Earth's magnetic field is generated. I understand that it's a "dynamo" type of effect, driven by convection currents in the molten outer ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What would happen if the Earth was tidally locked with the Sun?

I'm thinking of writing a short story set on a version of Earth that is tidally locked to the Sun. I'm not exactly sure how to research the topic. Here's a number of questions about what would happen: ...
4
votes
1answer
62 views

What sets the length scale of stratified rock formations?

Driving through areas of the American Southwest such as Utah and Arizona, you notice stratified rock formations everywhere. The grand canyon is the best known example. One striking thing is that the ...
4
votes
1answer
231 views

Upper limit on the earthquake magnitude

From the Gutemberg-Ricther law we know that the frequency of an earthquake is a power law so virtually any magnitude is possible on earthquake event. But the earth has a finite size so there must be ...
2
votes
1answer
266 views

How much water is destroyed in photosynthesis, relative to the world's supply?

Water is involved in the photosynthesis. How much water are we talking about compared with the total amount on water on Earth? Is it enough to have an effect on the average age of water molecules?
2
votes
1answer
163 views

Earth's magnetic field, could the poles be reversing?

Lately, I've been 'monitoring', if you will, the earths magnetic field, i've come across some strange looking activity periodically. I exchanged some emails with a guy from NASA today, Joseph Gurman, ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Lowest gravity on Earth's surface?

I am trying to determine which on Earth's surface has the lowest gravity. Googling is not finding anything concrete. My natural inclination would be to think of Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador, being on ...
2
votes
2answers
140 views

How does gravity behave outside the geoid?

I was watching a program about the geoid recently and the relative "height" of the Himalayan plateau gave me an idea. It makes sense for the geoid to be "highest" (is that the correct term?) there as ...
4
votes
1answer
127 views

Why does air contain $Ar$ specifically?

Air consists roughly of $N_2$, $O_2$ and $Ar$. Why is $Ar$ the relatively common noble gas compound and not for example the lighter ones $He$ or $Ne$?
4
votes
2answers
280 views

How to predict sea waves length/height?

I would like to know which are the best methods used to predict sea waves characteristics (particularly predict length/height given water depth and wind speed) and how are they used. My major is ...
1
vote
1answer
220 views

Average speed of seismic waves towards the center of Earth

I'm looking at an approximation of the average speed of seismic wave towards the center of Earth. The horizontal path of the waves that affects us directly is well documented, but there is not much ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the source of Earth's magnetic field?

I saw on Discovery channel that the source of Earth's magnetic field is the molten iron and metals in the earth's core. The spinning of these liquid metals produces the same effect as electric current ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

Flood prediction data and code

Is it possible to use the data that is readily available (e.g. of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) to predict the flooding of a region? Would it be necessary to use the refined geoid of Gravity ...
1
vote
4answers
876 views

Is the earth expanding?

I recently saw this video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJfBSc6e7QQ and I don't know what to make of it. It seems as if the theory has enough evidence to be correct but where would all ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Outcomes of earth slowing down spinning on its own axis

What are the possible outcomes if earth slows down spinning on its own axis? To be specific: Can the decrease in the internal centrifugal (or centripetal) force due to slowing down earth's spin: ...
6
votes
1answer
45 views

Refraction and scattered light for NLCs

For helping with judging NLC candidates (are they NLC or not) I have a set of formulas to calculate the minimum altitude (in km) of the candidate given an observed altitude (in degrees) of the ...
62
votes
6answers
5k views

Why is there a scarcity of lithium?

One of the major impediments to the widespread adoption of electric cars is a shortage of lithium for the batteries. I read an article a while back that says that there is simply not enough lithium ...
-4
votes
1answer
250 views

How can the Earth's day increase and its rotation slow down at the same time? [closed]

I heard that the Earth rotation is slowing down, but I also heard the Earth's length of day is increasing. Does the two theories go together or conflict with each other?
4
votes
2answers
394 views

What is the dominant cause for ocean waves at a beach?

What is the dominant cause for ocean waves at a beach? Are they the result of wind/pressure difference? If so, the waves do seem to exist in similar intensity even during relative quiet times of the ...
1
vote
2answers
368 views

A lightning protection device physics

Here is a description of the principle of the operation of a new lightning device: During a storm the ambient electric field may rise to between 10 to 20 kV/m. As soon as the field exceeds a thresold ...
3
votes
3answers
293 views

Ozone Hole in the South Pole

Perhaps this should be a chemistry question, but it seems to have physics attributes. There's a perennial ozone "hole" around the south pole created by destruction from Cl based chemicals like CFCs. ...
2
votes
2answers
119 views

Seismic science questions

We just (20mn ago) suffered from another strong aftershock (of the initial March 11th earthquake) in Japan. I have some questions related to seismic science. Why is there so much time between the ...
41
votes
7answers
3k views

Why is the Earth so fat?

I made a naive calculation of the height of Earth's equatorial bulge and found that it should be about 10km. The true height is about 20km. My question is: why is there this discrepancy? The ...
3
votes
1answer
479 views

live Kp index data

I need to create an online service displaying latest Kp index. Where I can take the data? The data should be in machine-readable format, i.e. text files, XML, or CGI gateways, for instance. No ...
15
votes
3answers
827 views

How does uranium from supernovae explosions end up in mineral veins in a planet?

The reply to a question about nucleosynthesis, that heavier than iron elements are produced in supernovae explosions, raised for me the following question which I could not answer by googling. ...
4
votes
2answers
385 views

Can the earth's magnetic field be generated by heat from a natural nuclear reactor?

I've come upon Dr. J. Marvin Herndon's theory that the earth's magnetic field is generated by a hot nuclear reactor operating in the center of the earth. This is backed by various papers, some of them ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Physics of tsunami: the relationship between wavelength, sea depth and the height of the water

If I understand correctly, when an earthquake occurs, energy will be transferred to the water, resulting in water waves. As the waves reach seashore, because the sea depth is getting shallower and ...
8
votes
3answers
459 views

Why does energy in earthquake waves seem to go up with the three halves power?

My question might be based on a false premise, so here's why I asked. If you look up the meaning of the moment magnitude scale for measuring earthquake size, the articles usually say that each ...
5
votes
1answer
153 views

Readings of the detectors at Japan and Izu-Bonin-Mariana Trenches

Given the relevance of this subduction system, I would expect that a wide range of detectors (temperature, vibration, seismometers, whatever) are deployed in the depth of these trenches. What would be ...
4
votes
2answers
160 views

How good is current tsunami prediction?

We all know that predicting tsunami and earthquake is difficult, with too many variables involved. But with the advent in data collection and computing power and better models, one should be able to ...
-3
votes
4answers
1k views

Electro Magnetic Waves can cause matter displacement?

After watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1jIjx0XF_U The experience is made with a speaker that generates a sound wave or mechanic wave. Can you use this to establish a link to ...
10
votes
6answers
660 views

Tsunami dampening mechanisms

Encouraged by the zeitgeist let me ask the following: Is it feasible (now or in the future) to build systems a certain distance of a vulnerable coastline which can serve to dampen a tsunami before it ...
5
votes
1answer
303 views

A “global warming” problem

Suppose that a someone decided to calculate, for a given amount of heat added into a planet's atmosphere(an ideal gas), how much is the corresponding temperature rising of the atmosphere, $\Delta T$. ...
5
votes
1answer
325 views

Why are cold thunderstorms rare?

FYI: I imagine the physics of thunderstorms involves wind stripping electrons from condensed water cells (raindrops or snowflakes). Like a Van De Graaff generator, sort of; I'm also using Wilson's ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the net charge of the Earth?

This question arose in a seminar today about the solar wind... This is my vagueish understanding of the problem - please correct if you see errors! The 'classical' picture of atmospheric electricity ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How long does it take an iceberg to melt in the ocean?

This is a quantitative question. The problem is inspired by this event: On August 5, 2010, an enormous chunk of ice, roughly 97 square miles (251 square kilometers) in size, broke off the Petermann ...
17
votes
3answers
817 views

Why the distribution of elements on Earth?

I've been wondering exactly why the elements are distributed the way they are on Earth. The heavier elements have their origins in the centers of stars, or in supernovae. After the death of the stars, ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

What sustains the rotation of earth's core (faster than surface)?

I recently read that the earth's core rotates faster than the surface. Well, firstly, it's easier to digest the concept of planetary bodies, stars, galaxies in rotation and/or orbital motion. But, ...
2
votes
2answers
150 views

Utility of displacements potentials in geophysics

In the elasticity theory, you can derive a wave equation from the fundamental equation of motion for an elastic linear homogeneous isotropic medium: $\rho \partial^2_t \overline{u} = \mu \nabla^2 ...
22
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does the sky change color?

Why the sky is blue during the day, red during sunrise/set and black during the night?