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Question 2

Answer the following questions:
(a) The earths magnetic field varies from point to point in space. Does it also change with time? If so, on what time scale does it change appreciably?
(b) The earths core is known to contain iron. Yet geologists do not regard this as a source of the earths magnetism. Why?
(c) The charged currents in the outer conducting regions of the earths core are thought to be responsible for earths magnetism. What might be the battery (i.e., the source of energy) to sustain these currents?
(d) The earth may have even reversed the direction of its field several times during its history of 4 to 5 billion years. How can geologists know about the earths field in such distant past?
(e) The earths field departs from its dipole shape substantially at large distances (greater than about 30,000 km). What agencies may be responsible for this distortion?
(f ) Interstellar space has an extremely weak magnetic field of the order of 10−12 T. Can such a weak field be of any significant consequence? Explain.
[Note: Exercise 5.2 is meant mainly to arouse your curiosity. Answers to some questions above are tentative or unknown. Brief answers wherever possible are given at the end. For details, you should consult a good text on geomagnetism.]

Answer

 (a) Earth’s magnetic field changes with time. It takes a few hundred years to change by an appreciable amount. The variation in earth’s magnetic field with the time cannot be neglected.

(b)Earth’s core contains molten iron. This form of iron is not ferromagnetic. Hence, this is not considered as a source of earth’s magnetism.

(c)Theradioactivity in earth’s interior is the source of energy that sustains the currents in the outer conducting regions of earth’s core. These charged currents are considered to be responsible for earth’s magnetism.



(d)Earth reversed the direction of its field several times during its history of 4 to 5 billion years. These magnetic fields got weakly recorded in rocks during their solidification. One can get clues about the geomagnetic history from the analysis of this rock magnetism.

(e)Earth’s field departs from its dipole shape substantially at large distances (greater than about 30,000 km) because of the presence of the ionosphere. In this region, earth’s field gets modified because of the field of single ions. While in motion, these ions produce the magnetic field associated with them.

(f)An extremely weak magnetic field can bend charged particles moving in a circle. This may not be noticeable for a large radius path. With reference to the gigantic interstellar space, the deflection can affect the passage of charged particles.

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