Have you seen the John Cusack action movie 2012 where the whole Earth starts to fall apart? This ridiculous yet awesome movie is an insight into what might happen if the core of the Earth got too hot. It would result in more earthquakes and volcanoes. Terrible. What if it cooled? Would human life fare any better? Read on to find out (Spoiler: No we would die).
Before we dive into this science problem, let’s make one thing very clear. The core of the Earth will not go cold anytime soon so please don’t worry. With so many political, environmental and societal issues taking place in the world today let me just make sure we do not accidentally add to that. This little issue will not happen anytime soon.
The core of the earth is cooling though, and it has been for billions of years. Around five billion years ago when the Earth was formed the interior was made of molten and only molten. Since then the cooling has occurred and now there is an inner core made of iron. This inner core is surrounded by hot molten. The inner core is growing all the time but incredibly slowly (about 1 mm a year). What if the whole interior of the Earth went cold?
The hot molten causes a lot to happen in our lives and on the Earth’s surface. It causes volcanoes and earthquakes that create so much disaster. It does have positives benefits too. It actually creates the magnetic field of the planet and gives the planet the atmosphere as we know it today. This protects the planet from the sun and other interference from outer space.
So would you sacrifice the magnetic field to save the world from some volcanoes and earthquakes? The simple and easy answer is no.
While it may sound good on paper. In reality, we would no longer have working compasses, animals would not be able to migrate, we would have no plate movement, no protection from the sun. The earth would get too hot and quickly become dry land. It would become very similar to what Mars looks like. In short, it would be uninhabitable. Scientists are currently trying to examine the planet Mars to determine if it has a cool interior or if there is still any molten present or if it ever did have an interior like Earth today.
So while the cooling of Earth is nothing to worry about, a cold earth would not be a good time. Although it could make a great sequel for John Cusack.