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Earth's core far hotter than thought - 6,000 ˚C, as hot as sun surface

Earth's core far hotter than thought - 6,000 ˚C, as hot as sun surface | Rocks | Scoop.it

The solid iron core is actually crystalline, surrounded by liquid.

But the temperature at which that crystal can form had been a subject of long-running debate.

 

Experiments outlined in Science used X-rays to probe tiny samples of iron at extraordinary pressures to examine how the iron crystals form and melt.

Seismic waves captured after earthquakes around the globe can give a great deal of information as to the thickness and density of layers in the Earth, but they give no indication of temperature.

 

That has to be worked out either in computer models that simulate the Earth's insides, or in the laboratory. Measurements in the early 1990s of iron's "melting curves" - from which the core's temperature can be deduced - suggested a core temperature of about 5,000˚C.

 

"It was just the beginning of these kinds of measurements so they made a first estimate... to constrain the temperature inside the Earth," said Agnes Dewaele of the French research agency CEA and a co-author of the new research. 

 

"Other people made other measurements and calculations with computers and nothing was in agreement. It was not good for our field that we didn't agree with each other."

 

The core temperature is crucial to a number of disciplines that study regions of our planet's interior that will never be accessed directly - guiding our understanding of everything from earthquakes to the Earth's magnetic field.

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Biosciencia's curator insight, April 28, 2013 7:11 AM

New measurements suggest the Earth's inner core is far hotter than prior experiments suggested, putting it at 6,000C - as hot as the Sun's surface.

Florencia Araya's curator insight, October 28, 2013 8:02 AM

Image of how is the Earth Structure

Michelle Winemiller's curator insight, January 22, 2015 12:12 PM

great article since we just spoke about the fact due to the intense pressure that the core of Earth is as hot as the sun's surface--great reinforcement of material being covered

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(EN) - Plate Tectonics Glossary | The Geological Society

(EN) - Plate Tectonics Glossary | The Geological Society | Rocks | Scoop.it

"The surface of the Earth is broken up into large plates. It’s easy to confuse these plates with the Earth’s crust – the thin outermost layer of the Earth. But there is more to the structure of the Earth than this simple image of a ‘cracked egg-shell’.

 

The Earth’s layers can be defined in two different ways – based on the chemical composition or the mechanical properties of the rock. To understand what plates are, it is important to understand both of ..."


Via Stefano KaliFire
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Michelle Winemiller's curator insight, January 22, 2015 12:07 PM

this article will be of particular value so that students are provided with the actual lithospheric plate locations on Earth