“It’s very exciting, and it could mean we have to rewrite the textbooks!”
In school, you probably learned that our planet is made up of four distinct layers: the crust, the mantle, the outer core, and the inner core.
But new research by a team of scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) is revolutionizing the game: Like a Russian doll, they say, the inner core has another core hidden inside it.
This “innermost inner core” may have been caused by a dramatic event early in Earth’s history.
“We found evidence that may indicate a change in iron structure, suggesting perhaps two separate cooling events in Earth’s history,” Joanne Stephenson, PhD researcher at ANU, and lead author of a paper on published research at Geophysical Research Journal: Solid Earthit said in a statement.
“The details of this great event remain a bit mysterious, but we have added another piece of the puzzle when it comes to our knowledge of the inner core of the Earth,” he added.
The work is based on an older theory.
“The idea of a different layer was proposed a couple of decades ago, but the data has not been very clear,” argued Stephenson. “We solved this by using a very clever search algorithm to crawl thousands of inner core models.”
Previous research indicates that this innermost inner core appears to occupy half the diameter of the overall inner core and has iron crystals that point in an east-west direction, as opposed to the outer inner core, which has north-pointing crystals. to the south, puzzling scientists.
The new research could have some important implications.
“It’s very exciting, and it could mean we have to rewrite the textbooks!” Stephenson said.
READ MORE: Scientists Dig Deep to Reveal Earth’s Hidden Layer [ANU]
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