AUG 21, 2020 8:48 AM PDT

Earth's Outer Core, in the Middle of a Laboratory

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

Deep underneath our feet lies Earth's outer core, a fluid layer over two thousand kilometers (1,500 mi) in thickness. Sandwiched between the planet's mantle and solid inner core, this super-hot structure is made of molten metal such as iron and nickel.

Seismic waves measured from earthquakes and volcano activities have been providing scientists information about the inner structure of our planet. But the movement of these acoustic waves is highly dependent on the property of the medium and the depth of their origins, thereby posing a restriction on how much information seismologists can obtain through seismic observations.

In a recent report, scientists at the University of Tokyo described their simulation of the Earth's center using a diamond anvil. For the first time in history, a tiny sample of liquid iron was compressed and maintained under the ultra-high pressure and temperature for a substantial period in a lab environment.

The Japanese researchers probed the iron sample with a highly focused synchrotron X-ray source and measured its density. They found that the compressed liquid iron specimen is about 8% denser than the outer core, whose density was estimated from previous studies. This evidence suggests that the molten outer core is likely to include lighter elements that have yet been identified.

The new finding regarding the core's composition could have significant implications for its movement. By combining the anvil-based measurement with mathematical modeling, this study represents a brand new approach to explore Earth's inner structure and improves our understanding of what's underneath its surface.

This study is published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Source: Seeker via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
MAY 22, 2021
Plants & Animals
This Lizard Blows Bubbles to Breathe Underwater
MAY 22, 2021
This Lizard Blows Bubbles to Breathe Underwater
Scientists say it's the biological version of the rebreathers than human divers use to conserve and recycle their oxygen ...
JUN 29, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Education In The Post-Covid World: Alternative Ways to Learn Chemistry & Physics
JUN 29, 2021
Education In The Post-Covid World: Alternative Ways to Learn Chemistry & Physics
Article Summary As the COVID-19 pandemic dies down, its effects will echo throughout the STEM field. Physics and chemist ...
JUL 03, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Size of Planet Iron Core Depends on Star Magnetism
JUL 03, 2021
Size of Planet Iron Core Depends on Star Magnetism
Researchers led by the University of Maryland have found that the sun's magnetic field is the reason behind the larg ...
AUG 03, 2021
Neuroscience
A Tree Falls in the Forest: A Neuroscientist on the World Our Brain Creates
AUG 03, 2021
A Tree Falls in the Forest: A Neuroscientist on the World Our Brain Creates
Neuroscientist, Donald Hoffman, thinks a mathematical model will solve the hard problem of consciousness
AUG 25, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Self-Assembling Molecules: A Potential "One-Size-Fits-All" Cancer Therapy
AUG 25, 2021
Self-Assembling Molecules: A Potential "One-Size-Fits-All" Cancer Therapy
A new study from the University of Huddersfield shows promising breakthroughs on the use of self-assembling molecules as ...
SEP 16, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
American Astronomical Society Commits to Open Access Journals
SEP 16, 2021
American Astronomical Society Commits to Open Access Journals
The American Astronomical Society (AAS) will move to open access format by January 1, 2022. AAS publishes six journals: ...
Loading Comments...