There is a strange and unrecognizable substance in the earth’s core.
A team of scientists at the Institute of Geochemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences has published a study in the popular journal Nature that can rewrite encyclopedias and curricula. They are still learning that the earth’s core is rigid. However, according to a new finding, it has a rare “superionic” condition. What is the structure of the Earth’s core?
The core of the earth is located in the center of the earth. It begins about 2,900 km below the surface and has twice the density of the Earth’s mantle. It consists of an outer layer and an inner layer. The outer core should be a semi-liquid containing iron, nickel, cobalt, sulfur, silicon and oxygen. According to the textbooks, the inner core contains mainly iron, which provides the planet’s magnetic field from sunlight. However, researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have found signs of lighter elements that change the structure of the core.
Geologist with a rock core magnetometer.
The structure of the earth’s core
The first thing physicists looked at was the density of the interior of the Earth’s core. They calculated that if it contained pure iron it would be small. Based on the theory of quantum mechanics, they created a simulation that mimics the high temperature and pressure of the planet’s gut. They perfectly mimicked the nature of particles beneath the Earth’s surface. Although iron atoms are solid, they found that the molecules of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen resemble a liquid.
“From more than 200 chemical samples, we have observed that the hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon in the iron in the hexagon are transformed into a superionic state in the core. They show the properties of the compound as a liquid.” The study author explains He Yu. Although the iron at the boundary of the inner core is solid, the dynamics of the lighter elements and convection currents do not change.
The mysterious core
In addition, new seismological data obtained by scientists during research indicate that the interior of the Earth’s core is soft. So this is not a big ball of iron and other compounds as we have imagined so far. The core may look like iron, but the lighter elements flow around it.
This finding could change the perception of planetary processes related to the planet, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, or magnetic fields.
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