Earth’s Core Is Younger Than Its Crust

Inner parts of the Earth are younger than the surface by an appreciable amount. Richard Feynman made this point first. But he underestimated the effect by a factor of 100 times! As the Danes who just discovered that put it: “The pedagogical value of this discussion is to show students that any number or observation, no matter who brought it forward, must be critically examined”.

Local Time is a theory invented by Poincaré, to make sense of Lorentz’s work. Local Time became famous when Einstein, a German, advertised it, and was himself advertised by Kaiser nationalists such as Max Planck. A gravitational field slows down (Local) Time. (The proof is easy.)

Notice that the core itself has no gravitation. So actually the slowing down of light clocks is a function of depth. Local time really slows down.

Local time, as given by light clocks, has to be the same as local time given by the weak force (radioactive decay). If not, one could tell absolute motion easily from the inside the bowels of the ship lab. That would contradict the Principle of Relativity.

I have argued for decades that the Cosmic Background Radiation gave an absolute frame. However, the situation is a bit more subtle than that. Galileo argued that a laboratory in the bowels of a ship cannot provide an indication of motion (as long as one does look outside!)

I recently dug around and found the argument came initially from bishop Oresme, a student and collaborator of Buridan. Both were major philosophers, mathematicians and physicists of the Fourteenth Century in Paris. Oresme considered the principle of relativity self-obvious (to “intelligent” persons). However that was as long as one was in the bowels of a ship, and not looking at heavenly bodies. Oresme explicitly said. Because Oresme argued the diurnal motion of Earth around itself could not be detected inside a lab (many centuries later, five centuries later, more exactly, that turned out to be false: consider Foucault’s pendulum, 1851 CE).

So can we find a sort of Foucault pendulum for absolute linear motion? General Relativity insists on what Newton already knew: the Earth falls around the Sun. Can we detect this rotation inside a mine, 2 kilometers down? In theory, yes: the CBR will slow down the Earth sometimes, and push it, at other times. A supersensitive accelerometer could detect that.

Nor can we do away with the likes of a CBR like reference frame. The simple fact that there are galactic clusters all around and they generate the gravitational field defines a state of rest relative to it.

The formalism of Quantum Physics already has an absolute time for all to see. That absolute time is what enables the non-local effects.

So is physics finished? No. Will the philosophical approach help? Of course (roll over, Feynman, go back to your faulty computations!). It took 32 years for physicists to realize that the potential was on the right side of the De Broglie-Schrodinger equation of 1924… That provided immediately with (the idea for) an experimental confirmation, the Bohm-Aharanov effect…
Patrice Ayme’


There was a rather interesting announcement recently: three Danes calculated that the centre of the earth is 2.5 years younger than the crust ( U I Uggerhøj et al. The young centre of the Earth, European Journal of Physics (2016). DOI: 10.1088/0143-0807/37/3/035602 ). The concept is that from general relativity, the gravitational field of earth warps the fabric of space-time, thus slowing down time. This asserts that space-time is something more than a calculating aid and it brings up a certain logic problem. First, what is time and how do we measure it? The usual answer to the question or measurement is that we use a clock, and a clock is anything that has a change over a predictable period of time, as determined by some reference clock. One entity that can be used as a clock is radioactive decay and according to general relativity, that clock at the core…

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16 Responses to “Earth’s Core Is Younger Than Its Crust”

  1. Gmax Says:

    Amazing. Heidelberg sounds like a fool in comparison with his “Sein under Zeit”

  2. Ian Miller Says:

    on May 30, 2016 at 11:38 pm said:

    I would argue the core has gravitational potential – just no net force. And yes, it has depth.

    And I do not believe physics is finished either – or anywhere near finished. But I do fear we are in danger of entering a period where dogma rules.

  3. Ian Miller Says:

    Dear Patrice,

    Disagree. If you had two different clocks giving different readings, and there was nothing wrong with the clocks, yes, you could tell there was a motion, but I am unconvinced it would tell you it was absolute. It may also tell you there is something strange about the environment. However, i think relative to the cosmic microwave background does give you an absolute motion (leaving aside the possibility of multiverses) because it is coming uniformly from all parts of the universe, and its own uniformity tells us the Universe expanded symmetrically. So the CMB is effectively a background on which the parts of the Universe move.

    The difference between local time slowing and local clocks slowing is an interesting one, and not easy to resolve,
    Thanks for the comments.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      I do not disagree that the CRB gives an absolute frame, de facto. I pointed out that Oresme would have said, more than six centuries ago, that it needed to be detectable in the bowels of the ship.
      1) I showed how that can be done without looking outside. Using an accelerometer works in the case of orbital motion. It also works for linear motion (the CRB will exert a constant force, hence acceleration).

      2) Even if there was no CRB, the CGB, the Cosmic GRAVITATIONAL Background would provide with an unavoidable equivalent. (Notice the close relationship with Mach’s Principle.)

  4. Patrice Ayme Says:

    brodix on May 30, 2016 at 5:27 pm said:

    Ian, Patrice,

    (a little garbled. My computer ate the first effort)

    Yes different clocks run at different rates, but what would be an absolute time? We perceive it as change and measure it as frequency. What would be an absolute rate of change, or frequency?

    “There is an external fixed background, and that is the cosmic microwave background. The microwave energy comes almost uniformly from all directions, and through the Doppler shift one can detect an absolute velocity relative to it.”

    While we can use the CMBR to measure a universal frame, is it this radiation which actually provides the resistance of a universal frame? If so, than any other fields, such as gravity, would be equally complicit.

    Could it be the only universal frame is the vacuum of space itself, mediated by all these fields?

    Then the fastest rate of change would be a frame in equilibrium with this vacuum, so that the motion of a frame relative to this equilibrium would be subtracted from velocity within the frame and that would be the basis of time dilation.

    Remember the speed of light is measured relative to the vacuum of space. So it is the velocity of light in the vacuum(not any particular field) which is the basis of any concept of a universal time. Yet that is still activity in space. Time is a measure of activity, even if it is light. So the only absolute time would be similar to a temperature of absolute zero. No activity and no change.

    Which goes to a point I keep making; That time has far more in common with temperature, than space and that temperature is actually more elemental. In that it arises from frequency and amplitude, while time is just a measure of frequency. Just that we are intellectually biased toward time, such sequence is the basis of rational thought.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      “Time is a measure of activity, even if it is light. So the only absolute time would be similar to a temperature of absolute zero. No activity and no change.”
      The same reasoning proves that light is no activity and no change.

      Contemplate more what I said about Quantum Physics before gravely insulting time…😉

  5. Dan Elbert Says:

    I’m missing something here. I thought that time slows down on a gravitational field, so shouldn’t the core be older than the crust? Since the strength of the gravitational field in the core is lower than in the crust?
    BTW is interesting to realize that the gravitational field in the center of a black hole is zero. Maybe that helps to deal with the singularity issue?

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hi Dan, and welcome. These time arguments can be confusing. A light clock in a greater gravitational field strikes time slower. So, say, after it shows 4.5 billion years, a similar light clock on the surface will strike: 4.5 billion years PLUS 2.5 years.
      Ian Miller pointed out it was better to stick with the POTENTIAL. He is right. The potential keeps augmenting at the core.

      I did not read the original paper. There would be subtleties, as the crust rotates, local time slows there.

      Singularities of Black Holes is an immensely complex field. When I explained why, decades ago, I got pretty trashed. However, I was right. If the Milky Way was made of air, it would become a Black Hole, but… not very singular.

  6. dominique deux Says:

    What is “age”?

    When applied to a living organism (note: I reject the misleading word “creature”) it seems a straightforward notion: the time elapsed since its birth. Or its conception. Conflict already. It is an useful, commonly used, but fickle notion.

    When applied to a non-living entity, are we referring to the day it appeared as such (ah, but what if it “appeared’ over a substantial duration, which is certainly the case for both core and crust); the day its constituent molecules were synthetized (ah, but they were not synthetized at the same time, as a large part may be quite young due to ongoing chemical processes); the day its constituent atoms … (ditto); the day its constituent particles/waves appeared (when there was no day or night anyway!) etc.

    The issue of local time at a gravitational center (which is an approximate notion, as overall cosmic gravity is not nulled out) is one of substance, and may yield practical consequences, but inferring consequences for the “ages” of surrounding systems sounds like gratuitous word play to me, throwing paradoxes for mediatic effect.

    PS Galileo is proven wrong by inertial navigation systems. Within several limitations and assumptions (such as immobility at time zero) they do detect acceleration and map motion from inside a sealed ship. No such systems existed in his time but people already got seasick inside the hull!

    • Gmax Says:

      Hi Dominique: Patrice holds that EVOLUTION IS THE CREATOR. Also evolution is intelligent. This goes around the god crazies, which are strong and many outside France

      • dominique deux Says:

        Yes Gmax I am aware of Patrice’s position, which I do not share. One of the issues we agreed to differ upon.

        I do not see teleological evolution as a necessary explanation, and I lack the acumen to even remotely understand how it would work, even with the Quantum.

        I also feel there is evidence to the contrary, such as the wild array of current solutions for every single physiological function, even though the building blocks (DNA, ATP, etc) are the same. For example evolution gave flight capacity to several groups of animals, never building on one to enhance the others, but starting from scratch every time: see the fundamental structural differences between various types of wings.

        Same for eyes, or even specialized neuronal functions such as sensitivity to pain.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          The “Modern Synthesis” posits (following J. Monod) that chance, and only chance, and classical necessity, drive evolution. In light of what we know about the Quantum, this is stupid only part of the story, and the least interesting part. The Quantum is intelligent. Intelligent in the most primitive way, but nevertheless, intelligent.

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        Go girl! 😉

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      There is ELECTROMAGNETIC TIME (Patrice neologism) given by light clocks. It regulates biological time (given by, say, electron processes in mitochondria). This is what drives, say, aging in biological organisms… (;-))
      CONSCIOUSNESS TIME is probably given something else, QUANTUM TIME.

      Mediatic effects? ;-)! Decades ago in Stanford, I gave a seminar to the luminaries of Black Hole theory (!!!!!!). Talk about media stars!!! Now an argument of mine was “frozen stars” where time comes to a stand-still, without being really a Black Hole (that’s just one possible outcome). They all looked at me as the placid media cows they were, watching the train of thinking pass by. But they learned enough to duplicate all of that later…
      Anyway, enough flamboyance… Got to do something right now, will be back like the Terminator said…

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