It’s Snowing Iron Near the Earth’s Core

The Earth's layers, showing the Inner and Outer Core, the Mantle, and Crust. Credit:

Scientists theorize that within Earth’s interior, conditions are extremely hot and extremely pressurized. This is what allows for the primarily iron and nickel core to be divided between a solid inner region and liquid outer region. The dynamics of this core are believed to be responsible for driving our planet’s protective magnetosphere, which is why scientists are determined to improve their understanding of it.

Thanks to new research conducted by an international team of scientists, it appears that the core region also gets its fair share of “snow”! To put it another way, their research showed that within the outer core, tiny particles of iron solidify and fall to form piles up to 320 km (200 mi) thick on top of the outer core. These findings could vastly improve our understanding of the forces that affect the entire planet.

Continue reading “It’s Snowing Iron Near the Earth’s Core”

What is the Earth’s Mantle Made Of?

The Earth's layers, showing the Inner and Outer Core, the Mantle, and Crust. Credit:

Like all the other terrestrial planets, (Mercury, Venus, and Mars) the Earth is made up of many layers. This is the result of it undergoing planetary differentiation, where denser materials sink to the center to form the core while lighter materials form around the outside. Whereas the core is composed primarily of iron and nickel, Earth’s upper layer are composed of silicate rock and minerals.

This region is known as the mantle, and accounts for the vast majority of the Earth’s volume. Movement, or convection, in this layer is also responsible for all of Earth’s volcanic and seismic activity. Information about structure and composition of the mantle is either the result of geophysical investigation or from direct analysis of rocks derived from the mantle, or exposed mantle on the ocean floor.

Continue reading “What is the Earth’s Mantle Made Of?”