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Graduate Student Seminar - 04/24/2009

"Precession in a Laboratory Model of the Earth's Core"

by Santiago Triana

Friday, April 24, 2009 -- 12:00 p.m.
Large Conference Room, 1207 Energy Research Facility

Advisor:  Professor Daniel Lathrop

Precession is an important component of the Earth's rotational motion. The Earth's rotation axis precesses with a period of 25,800 years, caused mainly by the combined torques of the sun and the moon acting on the slight equatorial bulge of the planet. Without precession (or convection), a viscous core will come to rotate as a solid body with the mantle. The fluid core responds to the precessional forcing and the resulting motion can in principle power the geodynamo. There have been several attempts, both theoretical and experimental, to unveil the role of precession in the motion of the fluid core. The three-meter diameter system is the most recent and largest experimental model of the Earth's core. The experiment provides data at parameter ranges much closer to the Earth's compared to what was possible before either experimentally or numerically. Preliminary experimental data evidencing precessional forcing will be presented during this talk.

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