Earth’s Inner Core Is Home To A ‘New Hidden World,’ Finds Study

Earth’s solid inner core may be home to a “hidden new world”, scientists have claimed. Within the scientific community, there is consensus about Earth’s inner core being a solid compressed ball of iron alloy, which is surrounded by the Earth’s outer core. A new study may change that understanding of the Earth’s insides.

Published on September 20, the new research suggests that Earth’s inner core may not be as solid as previously thought, and that it has certain semisoft characteristics where liquid metal is stored.

Earth’s core isn’t easy to study

The major problem with studying the Earth’s core is that it still remains inaccessible. In fact, for humans to ever get raw access to the Earth’s core, the planet must undergo some sort of disaster than rips it open.

With so much heat and pressure at the centre of Earth, it’s not ideal for humans to travel into or to even send remote probes.

Most of what we know about the Earth’s centre is based on readings taken from the crust (the surface). Vibrations from seismic waves caused by earthquakes or movement of tectonic plates are scientists’ only window into the Earth’s centre.

Why Earth’s inner core may be semisolid

The new liquid characters of Earth’s inner core were discovered by Rhett Butler from the Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. While trying to understand how seismic waves travel through different layers of Earth, Butler found that instead of going in a straight direction (as a solid metal ball would facilitate), the waves kept getting deflected in certain areas.

Based on this, Butler ascertained that the Earth’s core isn’t as solid as previously assumed and that it has certain areas where liquids may be found. By comparing their readings, scientists involved in the study found that the Earth’s core has certain pockets of “mushy” liquid and semi-solid iron near the surface.

In conversation with Live Science, a seismologist from the University of Bristol, Jessica Irving said that this means we’re now “finding a whole new hidden world.” Irving did not contribute to the study.  

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