TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 50 (Nos. 11, 12), pp. 1013-1018, 1998

Investigation of time dependent inner core structure by the analysis of free oscillation spectra

D. S. Sharrock and J. H. Woodhouse

Department of Earth Sciences, Oxford University, Parks Rd., Oxford OX1 3PR, U.K.

(Received April 20, 1998; Revised August 10, 1998; Accepted August 11, 1998)

Abstract: Proposals that the seismic structure of the Earth's inner core is time-dependent are investigated using the splitting functionsof free oscillations, determined from seismic data recorded over some 20 years. It is shown that the data support some time-dependence, although the paucity of the data for the 1970's and 1980's makes it difficult to be certain of the precise form of such time dependence. The data do not support a positive (i.e. West-to-East) rotation; rather, the inferred rotational component of the time-dependent inner core structure is negative (i.e. East-to-West), and varies according to the mode under consideration from less than 1° per year to more than 2° per year. The analysis suggests that inner core structure is time-dependent but that the dependence is not well explained by differential rotation of the inner core. This kind of analysis will become much more powerful with increasing quantities of data over a longer time span.

Corresponding author E-mail: David.Sharrock@earth.ox.ac.uk

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