Science & Technology
Earth's core formed over a billion years ago
By T.K. Randall
October 10, 2015 · 4 comments
The Earth's core has a radius of around 760 miles. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 NikoLang
Scientists have revealed new findings about the Pluto-sized ball of iron at the center of our planet.
Despite being situated directly beneath our feet the interior of the Earth remains a difficult place to study. Consisting of several different layers, this alien environment is just as inaccessible and just as mysterious as the surface of the some of the planet's we've been observing out in space.
This week scientists at the University of Liverpool in England have revealed that the Earth's core - a huge ball of solid iron - most likely formed between 1 and 1.5 billion years ago.
They also discovered that the swirling liquid iron outer core, which is responsible for powering the magnetic field that encircles our planet, could keep going for at least another billion years.
"The theoretical model which best fits our data indicates that the core is losing heat more slowly than at any point in the last 4.5 billion years and that this flow of energy should keep the Earth's magnetic field going for another billion years or more," said study co-author Andy Biggin.
The remarkable resilience of our own planet's outer core is in stark contrast to that of the interior of Mars which, having once also generated a protective magnetic field, is now all but inactive.
Scientists believe that this could be one of the reasons that the Earth is teeming with life while Mars has become a dry, cold wasteland where signs of life have yet to be found.
Source: Discovery News
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