Weather in Space

The Magnetic Field

What role did Walter Maurice Elsasser play in discovering the magnetic field?

German-born American physicist Walter Maurice Elsasser (1904–1991) was the scientist who discovered that the Earth’s magnetic field is generated as a result of how the planet’s hot core acts like a dynamo. He also brilliantly discovered that analysis of rock particles reveal clues about the orientation of the Earth’s magnetic field over time, which in turn contributed to the science of plate tectonics and the history of Earth’s climate.


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