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Author Topic: What is the effect of the Earth's hot interior?  (Read 4107 times)

Offline Mark

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What is the effect of the Earth's hot interior?
« on: 12/04/2009 19:30:01 »
Mark asked the Naked Scientists:
   
What is the effect of all that heat in the core of our planet?  Does it keep us warm?

What do you think?


 

Offline JimBob

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What is the effect of the Earth's hot interior?
« Reply #1 on: 13/04/2009 02:53:27 »
No, most often not. By far, a vast amount, the largest source of energy the earth gets is from the Sun. Only in a few isolate areas, such as Iceland, does the heat from the earth's interior become useful for man.
 

Offline Mazurka

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What is the effect of the Earth's hot interior?
« Reply #2 on: 15/04/2009 16:32:03 »
The heat of the earths interior has a couple of big effects. 

The first is to drive plate tectonics (and volcanism) - which to be fair does not have a daily relevance to us.

The second is in connection with the earths magnetic field, which can be explained by the dynamo theory, which requires the earths outer core to be able to convect.  It is thought that the interior of mars lacks the heat needed to maintain a magnetic field and thus protect its atmosphere from the solar wind. 
 

Offline Bass

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What is the effect of the Earth's hot interior?
« Reply #3 on: 25/04/2009 00:05:00 »
The average heat flow, or geothermal flux, contributes little energy flow to the surface of the earth.  Solar radiation contributes several thousand times more energy.

Average heat flow is less than 100 mW per square meter- however, heat flow is not evenly distributed.  Some areas, such as Iceland, New Zealand, Yellowstone, mid-oceanic ridges, and volcanic terrains have a much higher geothermal flux (and geothermal power plants).

As far as usefulness, the earth's heat flow (via volcanism) is responsible for almost all of the gases in the atmosphere, water in the oceans, and the density differences of rocks that give us dry land to sleep on.
 

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What is the effect of the Earth's hot interior?
« Reply #3 on: 25/04/2009 00:05:00 »

 

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