Scientists confirm that Earth has a distinct iron ball within its metallic core.
Table of Contents
Scientists have allegedly unlocked the secrets of Earth’s innermost core as they have found the fifth layer of the planet. A new study has suggested that seismic waves caused by earthquakes have revealed the innermost regions of the Earth.
A team of researchers from the Australian National University analyzed the rates at which these seismic waves enter and exit the Earth’s innermost core. During the study, researchers employed around 200 earthquakes with a magnitude of 6 or higher from the previous decades to find out the secrets of inner core. As a result, the scientist claims it demonstrates proof of a distinct layer within Earth called the innermost core.
The layers within Earth
The discovered layer, which belongs to the innermost core, is a solid metallic ball. According to the researcher, the discovery will be crucial in explaining planetary development and the evolution of Earth’s center. The study is published in the journal Nature Communications. Geoscientists discussed the secrets of the innermost core around 20 years ago, that the innermost core might contain a metallic ball. However, the study provides another piece of evidence to support the claim.
Until now, four layers of the Earth’s structure have been recognized. The crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core are all included in this. Dr. Thanh-Son Pháom, affiliated with ANU Research School of Earth Sciences, commented that the latest finding suggests a fifth layer lies underneath that.
Unlocking the secrets through quake activity
The scientists observed seismic waves originating in the Earth’s center and spat out on the other side. However, the waves then return to the earthquake’s origin. The scientist investigated the Alaska-based earthquake. The study confirmed that the waves bounced off somewhere in the southern Atlantic Ocean before returning to Alaska.
As per the researcher’s opinion, the fivefold resonating wave was observed from specified earthquakes along the Earth’s diameter. However, the research team collected layering wave patterns in a growing number throughout seismic stations worldwide.
The research reveals that the innermost core is a 644 km wide solid ball of iron-nickel alloy. The researchers examined the anisotropy of the iron-nickel alloy, consisting of the interior of the Earth’s innermost core. According to the direction of wave travel, seismic waves either go more quickly through the Earth’s inner core or move more slowly. This phenomenon is known as anisotropy.
The measurements of the innermost core
The research team studied seismic wave travel times for various earthquakes. They discovered that the crystallized structure in the innermost core of the inner core is distinct from the outer layer. However, the team also found that a massive catastrophe may have occurred during the evolution of Earth, and it may have affected significant changes in the crystal structure of the inner core.
The transformation from the innermost core to the outer shell of the inner core appears to be more gradual, which is why we cannot differentiate it through direct seismic wave reflections from it. The scientist concludes that the new layer must be more than 1,600 km lower than our feet. Scientists claim that Earth’s magnetic field has changed and will continue to change if there is a different innermost core. Although, the recent discovery will support understanding how Earth’s solid inner core originated and what impact it may have had on the magnetic field. This process is considered to have begun between 600 million and 1.5 billion years ago.
According to Dr. Pham, the lead scientist of discovery, it gives us a glimpse of what could have occurred with other planets. “We can take Mars as an assumption.” Still, we are looking for why Mars’ magnetic field disappeared in the past.