A study published in September calls into question a more than half-century-old model of the structure of the Earth’s inner core. Scientists suggest that the deepest layer on our planet is not a solid ball of iron, as we learned at school.
Researchers at the University of Hawaii in the United States point out that seismic data collected from Earth indicate that the core is not a solid ball of iron, but a mixture of solid metal, a soft medium, and a liquid.
Since the 1950s, science has known that the Earth is not hollow inside, but the planet’s core is almost undetected due to the heat and pressure that prevents the use of any kind of sensor.
The research was published in the scientific journal on September 20 Earth and inner planet physics.
To come to the conclusion that the Earth’s core is not solid, geophysicists used data from seismic waves generated by earthquakes. It was through collective vibrations that the researchers were able to reconstruct a view of the planet’s inner workings – as if it were a cross-sectional survey of the Earth.
Two main seismic waves are analyzed: straight line pressure and undulating shear waves. Each can behave differently as it travels across the Earth.
In doing so, scientists verified how seismic waves generated at five different points of the planet reach the opposite sides of the globe, passing through the Earth’s inner core.
Analysis of the data showed something that wasn’t according to plan: the earthquake’s shear waves, which should behave as if they passed through a ball of solid metal, arrived at a mixed structure of carbide, liquid iron, “dough” and semi. -solid.
According to Rhett Butler, a geophysicist at the Hawaiian Institute of Geophysics and Planetary, because the calculations of seismic waves were correct, the result indicated that this structure could only be the core of the planet.
“We’ve seen evidence that not only is it not soft in some places, it’s actually hard in others. So we see a lot of details inside the inner core that we haven’t seen before,” Butler told Live Science.
why does it matter?
The new discovery shows that Earth’s core is still surrounded by mysteries, many of which may never be revealed due to its thermal and barometric properties.
“The more we look at the core, the more we realize it’s not an iron ball. We’re discovering a new hidden world. Unless something terrible happens to our planet, we’ll never have direct observation of the Earth’s core,” Jessica said. IrvingAnd earthquake world From the University of Bristol, England, in a comment on Location He lives Science. Not involved in studies.
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