Earth’s innermost layer is a 644 kilometer wide ball of iron, new study finds

Not surprisingly, scientists have long wondered what lies at the very center of the Earth. The latest research supports a theory that our blue planet holds an iron ball in the middle, in its metallic core – a startling discovery.

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Beneath Earth’s outer layer, the mantle and its outer core of molten liquid is, according to a new study, the Earth’s solid metallic center – which actually has a hidden layer, or ‘innermost inner core’ .

The stupendous discovery suggests Earth has five main layers instead of four, and offered new details that scientists could use to help unravel some of the oldest mysteries about our planet and how it formed.

Geoscientists first suggested that Earth’s core might have an imperceptible extra layer about 20 years ago, according to a press release leaked to CNN News.

Now, using new datasets collected by measuring seismic waves from earthquakes as they pass through the center of the Earth, researchers have finally detected this deepest core, according to this latest study.

Seismic waves are vibrations that travel within or along the Earth’s surface and through its inner layers as a result of earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, among others.

“In this study, for the first time, we report observations of seismic waves from powerful earthquakes moving from side to side of the globe up to five times, like a ricochet,” explained the study co-author, seismologist Dr Thanh-Son Pham.

Detected through seismic activity

The reason this layer hasn’t been observed in more detail before is that its composition is so similar to what’s above it, according to Pham.

This newly detected center, which is probably a ball of metal 644 kilometers wide, and its outer shell would be formed of an iron-nickel alloy, with traces of other elements.

“Also, the transition from the innermost (solid) bullet to the outer shell of the inner core (also the solid shell) seems rather gradual than sharp,” said the Dr Pham. “That’s why we can’t observe it via direct seismic wave reflections.”

In evaluating the Earth’s core, the researchers looked at the speed at which seismic waves travel through it from different directions, and they found that the innermost core changes the speed of these waves in a different way from the outer layer. above, or its shell.

Detecting this new inner layer located more than 1600 km below our feet is a significant discovery. The presence of a distinct inner core could give scientists a better understanding of the Earth’s magnetic field and how it changes.

Indeed, the impressive findings of this new study “also give us insight into what might have happened with other planets,” Pham concluded.

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