The Earth's magnetic field creates an electromagnetic cocoon for the planet; it shields Earth from cosmic rays and limits atmospheric loss by solar wind erosion.  Present day numerical models can match the gross structure of the observed geomagnetic field.  However, these models have limited predictive power because they are not able to simulate the turbulent fluid dynamics that underlies magnetic field generation in Earth's core. To remedy this, we will continue our laboratory's unique investigation of fluid turbulence in Earth's core.  We will make novel measurements of turbulent convection that simulates Earth's core using the two unique rotating convection devices, both designed and developed in our laboratory via NSF EAR funding.  Detailed measurements of extremely turbulent, rapidly rotating convection will be made in our laboratory's new 2 meter high experimental device. Using our rotating magnetoconvection device, we will make laboratory measurements of fully turbulent flows in a new, larger volume tank of liquid gallium. Our results will be compared with the results of numerical simulations carried out in-house and by external teams collaborating with us.  This data, providing the first measurements of extremely turbulent rotating convection and magnetoconvection, will allow us to better understand the turbulent convection physics that underpins Earth's core dynamical processes.  

These studies will provide benchmark data describing rotating convection and magnetoconvection. These results will be especially relevant to numerical modelers of the Earth's core and other planetary dynamos.  They will also be relevant to astrophysical and solar dynamo modelers, atmospheric dynamicists, and fluid physicists and engineers studying turbulence, convection physics and magnetohydrodynamics. These projects will provide laboratory and computational training for undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers in the laboratory. Furthermore, this funding will allow the further development of our library of geoscience education films that are available online for educators and students alike ( and

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Earth Sciences (EAR)
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Robin Reichlin
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University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles
United States
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