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Excitement of torsional waves in Earth's core

Academic lead
Dr Phil Livermore, Earth and Environment
Dr Jon Mound, Earth and Environment, Prof Rainer Hollerbach, Mathematics
Project themes
Geophysical flows

The Earth’s liquid core is a very remote place indeed – we know relatively very little about its structure and dynamics because direct observation is not possible. In the last few decades, there has been mounting evidence of so-called torsional waves, inferred through movement of the magnetic field with which the waves interact. However, the theory available to explain these waves is somewhat behind the observations: we don’t yet understand how the waves are excited or even in which direction they travel. This project, spanning both geophysics and applied mathematics, aims to investigate the excitation mechanism of these waves by using numerical high-resolution supercomputer models of the core. By testing a variety of proposed theoretical triggering mechanisms, the student will model the ensuing evolution of the waves and compare the results with the observations.