A new study argues that Earth’s core faces intense pressure while also being covered in iron dust. The latest data could allow researchers to learn more about the forces that affect the entire planet.
The iron ‘snow’ is composed of small iron particles that are considerably heavier in comparison to any snowflake that could be produced in the atmosphere. It is generated by the molten core and accumulates on the surface of the inner core. In some areas, it can reach a thickness of more than 200 miles.
According to the researchers who elaborated on the study, the mechanism is similar to the one that favors the formation of rocks inside volcanoes. The metallic core of the planet can be compared to a magma chamber. Since there is no way to reach the Earth’s core and recover a sample, the researchers record and observe signals that are emitted by seismic waves as they travel through Earth.
Earth’s Core Is Covered In Iron Dust
A series of irregularities between recent seismic wave measurements and the numbers that were anticipated with the help of current models led to several questions. It appeared that the waves moved at a slower pace than it was expected as they traveled across the base of the outer core while the speed increased when they started to approach the eastern hemisphere of the inner core.
Within the study, the researchers argue that the iron snow could explain the strange phenomenon. In the past, it was theorized that a slurry layer could be found between the inner and the outer core, but other researchers dismissed the theory.
Recent research has inferred that crystallization could take place, and it is estimated that approximately 15% of the lowermost outer core could contain iron-based crystals that reach the liquid outer core and travel to the top of the solid inner core. The study was published in a peer-reviewed journal.