Earth’s Core Is 2.5 Years Younger Than The Surface


Earth’s Core Is 2.5 Years Younger Than The Surface

Earth's Core Is 2.5 Years Younger Than The Surface
Earth’s Core Is 2.5 Years Younger Than The Surface – Gary Hincks/Science Photo Library

The Earth’s core is 2.5 years younger than the planet’s surface. Now, you might be rightfully right to wonder how can this be possible. The most straightforward explanation would be that the planet formed on the outside first and then, somehow the core came into existence. This idea doesn’t make any sense and it’s not the right answer either.

The answer to this question about the Earth’s core being 2.5 years younger the surface comes from none other than Alber Einstein himself. And if he’s involved, you can be sure that the answer will be weird – and it is.

Now the logic behind this theory, has nothing to do with the fact that the core and the surface formed 2.5 years apart, but rather that time flows differently in the core than it does on the planet’s surface. This theory revolves around the effects of “time dilation,” an element of general relativity where time slows down around objects that generate gravity.

So, the bigger the gravity pull of an object, the slower time flows in its proximity. And since the Earth’s core is closer to the centre, the slower the time flows for it. In other words, the Earth’s core is 2.5 years younger than the surface because time is slightly slower than it is on the surface.

Now, this idea might seem like mumbo jumbo to many of us reading this, and it might seem like something purely theoretical that we can’t possibly put into practice and experiment with firsthand. But it might come as a surprise to know that we’re actually using this knowledge on a daily basis and applying it in our everyday lives.

GPS systems require taking into account for this ‘time dilation’ otherwise they would not work properly. GPS systems work by triangulation in order to give us an accurate location. In other words, we need three points in space in order to accurately – or almost accurately – predict where things are on the face of the Earth. These three points are comprised of two satellites in our planet’s orbit and the device back on Earth (your phone for example) to form this triangulation. A signal is sent between the three, and depending on the time it takes for that signal to bounce between the objects, we get our location.

And this is where time dilation comes into play. Since we here back on Earth are closer to the gravity well than the satellites in orbit, the satellites are adjusted in such a way as to make up for it – and their internal clocks are running slightly slower than the atomic clock here on Earth. The difference is minute, but if it wasn’t taken into consideration, your location could be presented hundreds of feet away from your actual location.

Nevertheless, the difference in time between the Earth’s core and the surface is about 0.0000000003 seconds – for every second. That’s not much, but multiply that by 4.543 billion years and you get a roughly 2.5 years difference.