Scientists may have discovered why the Earth's core remains a solid

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2017-02-16 17:00:08

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Scientists may have discovered why the Earth's core remains a solid

Scientists seem to have a new explanation for why earth's core keeps the solid state, despite the fact that its temperature is higher than the surface temperature of the Sun. It turns out that this may be related to the atomic architecture of the crystallized iron "ball", located in the center of our planet.

The Researchers suggest that earth's core may be peculiar to never hitherto unknown atomic state, which allows him to withstand incredible temperature and pressure, is characterized, according to calculations, the center of our planet. If scientists are right in this matter, it might help to solve another mystery, which haunted many decades.

A team of researchers from the Swedish Royal Institute of technology in Stockholm used the Triolith is one of the most powerful supercomputers in the country – to simulate nuclear process which could occur at a depth of about 6400 km below the earth's surface. As in the case with any other metal, atomic structure of iron is able to change under the influence of changes of temperature and pressure. At room temperature and under normal pressure of the iron is in the so-called phase of body-centred cubic structure (BCC) crystal lattice. Under high pressure, the lattice becomes hexagonal close-Packed phase. These terms describe the location of atoms within the crystal lattice of the metal, which, in turn, are responsible for the strength and other properties; like whether there will be metal in this case, in the solid state or not.

Previously it was thought that a solid, crystallized state of iron in earth's core due to the fact that it is in a hexagonal close-Packed phase of the crystal lattice, since the conditions for BEC it's too unstable. However, new research may indicate that the environment in the centre of our planet actually hardens and seals the status of BCC, not to destroy.

"In terms of the earth's core in BCC lattice of iron demonstrates a previously unseen picture of the diffusion of atoms. The BCC phase takes place under the motto "what doesn't kill me makes you stronger". Instability could interrupt the BCC phase at low temperature, but high temperature, on the contrary, increases the stability of this phase", — says lead researcher Anatoly Belonoshko.

As an analogy, the increased activity of atoms of iron in the center of the Earth, Belonoshko leads tsousis a deck of cards, where the atoms (represented by cards) can continuously and quickly be mixed under elevated temperature and pressure, but the deck remains a single entity. And these figures are very impressive: 3.5 million times higher than the pressure that we experience on the surface, and about 6000 degrees Celsius above the temperature.

The Data obtained by using the supercomputer Triolith also show that up to 96 percent (higher than previous calculations shown) from the mass of the inner earth's core, most likely accounted for by iron. The remaining part accounts for Nickel and other light elements.

Another mystery that can be solved thanks to recent studies, is, why do seismic waves travel faster between the poles, not over the equator. This phenomenon is often called anisotropy. Researchers say features of the behavior of the BCC lattice in the gland under the influence of extreme conditions, typical for the center of the Earth, may be sufficient for a large effect of anisotropy, which in turn creates for scholars another field of research in the future.

It is Important to note that this assumption is derived on the basis of particular computer simulations of internal dynamic processes of the Earth, and on the basis of other models, results of calculations may vary. Until then, until we figure out how to drop to such a depth appropriate scientific tools, we will not be able with certainty to say about the correctness of the calculations. And given that temperature and pressure, which there can take place, obtaining direct evidence of the activity of the core of the planet, perhaps for us it will be altogether impossible.

And yet, despite the difficulties, it is important to continue such studies, because once we are able to learn more about what is really going on inside our planet, we will have more chances to find out what happens next.

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