Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Earth science

Geomagnetism under scrutiny

New calculations show that the electrical resistance of Earth's liquid-iron core is lower than had been thought. The results prompt a reassessment of how the planet's magnetic field has been generated and maintained over time. See Letter p.355

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Temperature profile of Earth's interior.


  1. Pozzo, M., Davies, C., Gubbins, D. & Alfè, D. Nature 485, 355–358 (2012).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Stacey, F. D. & Anderson, O. L. Phys. Earth Planet. Inter. 124, 153–162 (2001).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Christensen, U. R. & Aubert, J. Geophys. J. Int. 166, 97–114 (2006).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Gubbins, D., Thomson, C. J. & Whaler, K. A. Geophys. J. R. Astron. Soc. 68, 241–251 (1982).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. Lay, T., Hernlund, J. & Buffett, B. A. Nature Geosci. 1, 25–32 (2008).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Gillet, N., Schaeffer, N. & Jault, D. Phys. Earth Planet. Inter. 187, 380–390 (2011).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Corgne, A., Keshav, S., Fei, Y. W. & McDonough, W. F. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 256, 567–576 (2007).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. de Koker, N., Steinle-Neumann, G. & Vlček, V. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 109, 4070–4073 (2012).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Hirose, K. et al. Mineral. Mag. 75, 1027 (2011).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Nakagawa, T. & Tackley, P. J. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. 11, Q06001 (2010).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  11. Buffett, B. A. Geophys. J. Int. 179, 711–719 (2009).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  12. Monnereau, M. et al. Science 328, 1014–1017 (2010).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Alboussière, T., Deguen, R. & Melzani, M. Nature 466, 744–747 (2010).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  14. Sun, X. & Song, X. Phys. Earth Planet. Inter. 167, 53–70 (2008).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Bruce Buffett.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Buffett, B. Geomagnetism under scrutiny. Nature 485, 319–320 (2012).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing