Earth’s Core Temperature 1,000 Degrees Hotter Than Previously Measured, Study Shows

Earths Core

Earth has multiple layers: the crust, the mantle, the liquid outer core and the solid inner core.

By: Elizabeth Howell, OurAmazingPlanet Contributor
Published: 04/25/2013 02:07 PM EDT on LiveScience

Earth’s internal engine is running about 1,000 degrees Celsius (about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than previously measured, providing a better explanation for how the planet generates a magnetic field, a new study has found.

A team of scientists has measured the melting point of iron at high precision in a laboratory, and then drew from that result to calculate the temperature at the boundary of Earth’s inner and outer core — now estimated at 6,000 C (about 10,800 F). That’s as hot as the surface of the sun.

The difference in temperature matters, because this explains how the Earth generates its magnetic field. The Earth has a solid inner core surrounded by a liquid outer core, which, in turn, has the solid, but flowing, mantle above it. There needs to be a 2,700-degree F (1,500 C) difference between the inner core and the mantle to spur “thermal movements” that — along with Earth’s spin — create the magnetic field.

The previously measured core temperature didn’t demonstrate enough of a differential, puzzling researchers for two decades. The new results are detailed in the April 26 issue of the journal Science.

The centerpiece of the experiment was a new X-ray technique that takes measurements faster than before. Iron samples compressed in the laboratory typically last for only a few seconds, making it difficult to determine in previous experiments if the iron is still a solid, or if it is starting to melt.

 

Read more…http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/26/earths-core-temperature-1000-degrees-hotter_n_3162098.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

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