MAR 07, 2017 09:48 AM PST

Why is inner earth hot?


Earth's mantle, the thick layer between the surface and core of our planet, is solid - but it is not rigid. And this certain flexibility that the mantle has allows it to convey heat more easily. The layers of the mantle closer to the hot core become pliable, almost like candle wax, and the heat rises in convection currents in the outer layers of the mantle, explaining why the deeper we dig (miners will contest), the hotter it gets.

That heat from the core, carried through convection currents to the surface, also stirs volcanoes and may be responsible for plate tectonic movements.

Humans didn't always know about this phenomena of how heat is transmitted from our earth's center to the surface. A scientist named Lord Kelvin who lived during the 1800s compared the earth to a baked potato that has been taken out of the oven, in the sense that earth started off hot and has been cooling ever since. Now we know that the potato metaphor doesn't work, because the planet isn't a solid lump through which heat diffuses at constant rate!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 15, 2018
Videos
NOV 15, 2018
Viewing the Interactions Between Cellular Structures
Scientists have used powerful microscopy techniques to learn more about how the dynamics of a live cell....
NOV 24, 2018
Videos
NOV 24, 2018
Gene signature predicting immune therapy
An experiment is conducted upon ECM to decide for a novel biomarker, that will help to deciding which patient can enroll fro immune therapy....
NOV 25, 2018
Videos
NOV 25, 2018
Ongoing Ebola Outbreak in DRC Becomes Country's Worst Ever
On August 1, 2018, an Ebola outbreak was declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is still ongoing....
NOV 26, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 26, 2018
The Role of Clinical Lab Scientists
The clinical laboratory is the heart of any hospital or healthcare system. It is responsible for greater than 70% of medical diagnoses and decisions made b...
NOV 27, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 27, 2018
Here's What Makes Mars So Challenging to Land On
Humankind has sent spacecraft to a plethora of worlds in our solar system, including asteroids, comets, moons, and planets. Of all, Mars has consistently p...
DEC 06, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 06, 2018
Rare Uranium Compounds Capable of High-temperature Superconductivity at Near Normal Pressure
Uranium is often associated with nuclear fuel materials, but very soon they could be used to power a new wave of industrial revolution. Scientists from Rus...
Loading Comments...