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Scientists Discover Deepest Region Of The Earth – A Solid Ball Of Iron And Nickel

By: Buzz Staff

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Last Updated: February 27, 2023, 17:56 IST

Delhi, India

Scientists discover the fifth layer of Earth. (Credits: NASA)

Scientists discover the fifth layer of Earth. (Credits: NASA)

Seismic waves produced by earthquakes helped scientists discover the solid fiery hot fifth layer of the earth's surface.

The fifth layer of Earth has been uncovered by scientists working to unlock the geological mysteries of the planet. The crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core were once thought to make up the Earth’s structure. Yet, further analysis revealed in Nature Communications supports the existence of a fifth layer. The deepest regions of the Earth’s inner core have become easier to study owing to the seismic waves produced by earthquakes.

The Australian National University’s team of researchers analysed the rates at which these seismic waves enter and exit the Earth’s deep core. Upon studying them, the researchers claimed that the seismic waves have demonstrated proof of an identifiable layer inside the earth called the innermost inner core.

Recent research states that scientists have observed a mysterious metal ball in the Earth’s deep core showing a structure that has long been speculated about but has never been observed in such detail. According to researchers, a thorough examination of the seismic waves from significant earthquakes on the earth’s deep interior has proven the existence of a different structure inside the planet’s innermost layer. This structure is an 800-mile (1,350-kilometre) wide solid ball of iron and nickel which is fiercely hot.

Both the outer shell and the newly discovered innermost sphere of the inner core are hot enough to be molten, yet they are made of a solid iron-nickel alloy due to the extreme pressure at the Earth’s core. The planet’s interior is divided into four layers: an outer crust formed of rocks, a rocky mantle, an outer core that is composed of magma, and a solid inner core. The metallic inner core, which is approximately 1,500 miles (2,440 km) broad, was found in the 1930s, also based on seismic waves passing through Earth which has a diameter of about 7,900 miles (12,750 km).

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Australian National University’s observational seismologist Thanh-Son Pham, who led the study published in the journal Nature Communications stated that “We may know more about the surface of other distant celestial bodies than the deep interior of our planet."

According to the earth’s magnetic field mechanism described by observational seismologists Pham and Tkalcic in their paper, as the earth’s inner core (IC) expands, latent heat and light components produced during the process of solidification drive the convection of the liquid outer core, which then maintains the geodynamo.

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first published:February 27, 2023, 17:19 IST
last updated:February 27, 2023, 17:56 IST