The study of the physical processes and properties of the planet Earth. Applicable to many subjects about Earth, such as its shape, its magnetic field, and ocean currents.

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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 ...
9
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4answers
21k views

Can the Earth's magnetic field be used to generate electricity?

Since the Earth has a magnetic field, can it, in theory, be run through a conductive metal coil to create electricity?
42
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5answers
10k views

Why has Earth's core not become solid?

The Earth is billions of years old, yet its core has not yet cooled down and become solid. Will this happen in the foreseeable future?
20
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2answers
9k 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 ...
8
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3answers
22k views

Is the Earth negatively or positively charged?

The Earth carries a negative electric charge of roughly 500 thousand Coulombs. Does that mean the Earth is negatively charged?
3
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1answer
1k views

Why is the geomagnetic north pole at a different location from the magnetic north pole?

According to this site Magnetic North, Geomagnetic and Magnetic Poles The Geomagnetic poles (dipole poles) are the intersections of the Earth's surface and the axis of a bar magnet hypothetically ...
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7answers
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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 ...
8
votes
2answers
635 views

rotational oblateness

I am trying to compute the amount of oblateness that is caused by planetary rotation. I picture the force of gravity added to the centrifugal force caused by the rotation of the planet as follows: $\...
6
votes
2answers
835 views

Why isn't the Earth's core temperature the average of its surface temperatures?

Assuming that the earth is spherical, that its temperature is continuous, and that some other more or less realistic conditions hold, we might think that the Earth's core temperature should be about ...
10
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6answers
823 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 ...
2
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2answers
3k views

Why does Earth behave like Natural Bar Magnet?

What is the reason for the Earth to behave like a bar magnet and have poles (North and South poles)?
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3answers
162 views

Why geologist do not consider molten iron in the magma to be the source of Earth's magnetic field?

This was a question that came in a exam. How come is this possible? Actually, a question on the source of Earth's magnetic field was asked here on physics SE, which matches my opinion. The ...
12
votes
3answers
492 views

Radio-dating and the age of the earth

I understand there are a few radio-dating methods to determine the age of the earth, uranium-lead to name one (maybe not the best though). The ratio Pb206 + Pb207 to U allows you to find when the ...
10
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2answers
253 views

Does the geomagnetic field rotate?

The Earth rotates about it's own axis. Do the geomagnetic field lines rotate due to this rotation or not?
2
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3answers
684 views

Why does the wind direction vary locally?

If the air is flowing with the earth, as it rotates, how do we feel a breeze and strong winds at times, as everyone has experienced, the wind shifts as if from many directions.
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1answer
3k views

Why did the Earth cool down?

In physics text books, it has only stated that Earth cooled down and so, water vapour condense and other life form develop and et cetera. But, why did Earth cooled down in the first place? What caused ...
1
vote
3answers
6k views

No uncertainty for standard gravitational acceleration?

The other day I asked about the uncertainty of light, and this issue triggered me to start looking into other physical constants and try to understand why other constants have no uncertainty. One of ...
-1
votes
1answer
27 views

Variations of earth's magnetic field strength [closed]

Is it true that on average, people who grow up in a geographical location of the earth where the magnetic field strength is stronger than other geographical locations, develop more to their genetic ...
-2
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
34
votes
4answers
5k views

Why is Earth's climate so stable?

Earth wasn't always the only water-world in the solar system. Mars also appear to have started out wet but, as conditions changed, Mars lost its oceans. So, how has Earth managed to avoid a ...
46
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do some location on Earth have only one tidal maximum per day instead of two?

Most places in the ocean have two high tides and two low tides per "day" (~25 hours). But I remember reading that some locations only have one of each per day. This answer has some great explanations ...
10
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2answers
1k views

Why heavy elements don't sink to the core?

If earth assembled out of space dust, how come we find heavy elements like gold, silver, uranium and bunch of others that are heavier than iron on the surface? I mean silicon (Si mass 28.084) being ...
20
votes
3answers
2k 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, ...
9
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Is the total mass of Earth's atmosphere essentially constant in time?

Per a few questions and comments on this site such as Huge buildings affect earth's rotation? I wonder, is the mass of the Earth's atmosphere roughly constant? We're burning an incredible amount ...
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 ...
12
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1answer
4k 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: ...
9
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3answers
2k views

How is it that the Earth's atmosphere is not “blown away”?

The Earth moves at a high rate of speed around the Sun, and the solar system is moving quickly around the Milky Way. How is it that the Earth's atmosphere is not “blown away”?
8
votes
1answer
572 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
658 views

Can a small change in the Earth temperature give rise to large-scale climate changes?

Earth's atmosphere is a chaotic system. In such systems arbitrarily small changes the conditions can give rise to very large effects. There are many rumors about the physical and large scale ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the temperature of the clear night sky from the surface of Earth?

Before you all jump in with 2.73 K or thereabouts, this is more of an experimental question. It will obviously depend on humidity and radiation being scattered back towards the surface of the Earth. ...
5
votes
2answers
704 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 ...
8
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3answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
968 views

Does the Earth rotate vertically too?

We know that the earth has seen several Ice Ages. And we know the Earth's magnetic poles seem to flip once in a while. Could all of this be explained by a once every 250 Million Years or so the ...
4
votes
2answers
622 views

Can wind blowing on smooth water create speckle interference patterns?

On a calm smooth lake, or even a large rain puddle, I've seen transient rough patches on the surface suddenly appear and disappear, and sometimes move across the water some distance before ...
1
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1answer
1k views

What is the deepest man-made underground tunnel? [closed]

What is the deepest tunnel in the Earth's surface? I have meet numbers, around 300km. What is the main problem to make tunnel more deeper? What is the problem with 1000km?
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2answers
428 views

Does Earth produce metallic elements in its core?

Does Earth produce metallic elements in its core?