How Has The Inside Of The Earth Stayed As Hot As The Sun’s Surface For Billions Of Years?

How Has The Inside Of The Earth Stayed As Hot As The Sun’s Surface For Billions Of Years? – Curious Kids is a series for kids of all ages where The Conversation asks experts to answer kids’ questions. All questions welcome. Learn how to enter at the bottom of this article.

What will happen if the Earth’s core is no longer molten? – Amelia, 13 years old, Devon, UK

How Has The Inside Of The Earth Stayed As Hot As The Sun’s Surface For Billions Of Years?

Thanks Amelia, that’s a very good question. The Earth’s core cools very slowly over time. The day the core completely cools and solidifies, it will have a huge impact on the entire planet. Scientists believe that when this happens, Earth may be a bit like Mars, with a very thin atmosphere and no more volcanoes or earthquakes. Life would be very difficult to survive then, but in a few billion years it won’t be a problem.

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At this moment, the Earth’s core has not completely melted. the inner core is a ball of solid iron, while the outer core is thousands of kilometers of molten iron.

Scientists know this because seismic waves can be seen on the other side of the Earth, and we wouldn’t expect to see them there if the inner core was also melting.

When Earth first formed, about 4.5 billion years ago, the entire core was molten. Since then, the Earth has gradually cooled, losing its heat to space. As it cooled, a solid inner core formed and has been growing in size ever since.

But this process is very slow. the inner core grows only about a millimeter a year because Earth has a rocky layer between its hot core and cold surface, which prevents it from cooling too quickly, just as a coat keeps you warm. warm in winter.

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The slow cooling of our planet causes molten iron in the outer core to flow and circulate rapidly as heat is transferred to the mantle, giving Earth its magnetic field. The magnetic field is like a magnet that works at a distance, and although we can’t see it with our eyes, it does a lot on our planet.

The Earth’s magnetic field protects life on Earth’s surface from harmful solar radiation. It also maintains the planet’s atmosphere and helps animals find their way.

The heat from the core also causes matter to move through the various layers of our planet, from the rocky mantle to the solid surface plates where you and I live.

This movement can cause the Earth’s plates to collide, causing earthquakes and volcanoes. This is why living in places where two plates meet, like Nepal or Japan, can be very dangerous.

How Has The Inside Of The Earth Stayed As Hot As The Sun’s Surface For Billions Of Years?

As the molten outer core cools and solidifies, Earth’s magnetic field will eventually recede.

When this happens, compasses don’t point north, birds don’t know where to fly during migration, and Earth’s atmosphere disappears. This makes life on Earth very difficult for humans and other life forms.

As the Earth cools completely, the movement of the mantle also eventually stops. Then the earth’s plates will no longer move and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions will be less.

You might think that’s good for people, especially those who live in places like Tokyo, but volcanic eruptions also create fertile soil for agriculture and the gases that make up the air we breathe.

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After all, Earth might be a little like Mars. On the surface of Mars, scientists have seen features associated with volcanoes and moving plates. But they are no longer moving and there is no magnetic field and only a thin atmosphere remains.

We don’t know if Mars’ core is still molten, but a robot called InSight recently landed on Mars to help us find out.

But at the same time, there is no need for the Earth’s core to lose all its heat and solidify because the mantle wraps around the core and keeps it nice and warm.

Hello, curious children! Have a question you want an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send us your question. You can:

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Please tell us your name, age and where you live. If you want, you can also send a recording of your question. Submit as many questions as you like. We can’t answer all questions, but we’ll do our best. Traditionally, we were taught that the Earth has three main layers: the crust, the mantle, and the core. Observations of reflection and scattering of seismic waves and experiments based on how minerals react to high pressure and temperature show that the interior of the Earth is more complex than previously thought.

The Earth’s mantle is mainly composed of magnesium, iron and silicon dioxide, but different minerals are formed depending on the temperature and pressure. The upper mantle is composed of silicates, which are common in igneous and metamorphic rocks, such as olivine, pyroxene, and garnet. In the transition zone between 400 and 700 km, these common minerals become unstable and form exotic silicates, such as ringwoodite, wadsleyite, and most. By far the most common mineral is bridgmanite, also known as silicate-perovskite, which makes up 38 percent of the Earth’s mass. Bridgmanite is only stable at high temperatures and pressures because it is found in the Earth’s lower mantle. Specimens were first found in a meteorite (fragmented remains of a planetoid) that fell from space in 1879, but it was not described as a separate mineral until 2014.

The transition zone, which seismologists call the D layer, represents contact with the Earth’s core at a distance of 3,000 kilometers. The exact origin of the “D” layer is not known. Some researchers believe that this layer is formed from the remnants of partially melted tectonic plates that sink from the Earth’s surface to the bottom of the mantle. Others claim that this layer is formed from large crystals. which during millions of years under constant pressure and heat reach meters in size.

The Earth’s core consists of an outer layer, probably of liquid iron alloy, with a radius of about 2,200 km, and an inner core of solid iron with a radius of 1,300 km.

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The idea of ​​another distinct layer in the inner core was proposed decades ago, but the data is very vague. Now, a study by researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) has confirmed the existence of the Earth’s “innermost core”. The team used a search algorithm to compare thousands of models of the inner core with decades of observed data on how long seismic waves take to travel through the Earth, collected from seismographic stations around the world.

The main author of the research, doctor of philology A. Researcher Joan Stevenson says that although this new layer is difficult to observe, its various properties may point to an unknown and dramatic event in Earth’s history. “We found evidence that could indicate changes in the structure of iron” at a depth of 5,800 kilometers.

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The inner core of the Earth is hotter than 6000 degrees Celsius despite the high pressure because the high pressure prevents the melting of the nickel and iron alloy. The pressure at the center of the Earth can be high enough to cause the amorphous alloy to transform into a crystalline form, explaining the difference in seismic wave paths through the Earth.

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But the changes in structure can be explained by two separate cooling events in Earth’s history, Stevenson said. The first generation of iron ores that crystallized from the magma and formed the inner core have different structural planes than the later crystallized and emplaced ones. This is very exciting and may mean we need to rewrite the textbooks. The Earth line is a popular theme in science fiction. Some underground legends involve traveling to the core of the Earth and finding the core of the Hollow Earth or Earth. Planetary scientist David J.

In depth, the Kola Superdeep Borehole SG-3 held a world record of 12,262 meters (40,230 ft) in 1989 and remains the deepest man-made borehole on Earth.

The so-called “hollow earth” idea, once popular in science fiction adventure literature, is that the planet Earth has a hollow interior and an inner surface for human habitation. Although the scientific community has made it clear that this is a pseudosystem, the idea is a less common feature of many fictional and fantasy stories and some conspiracy theories.

A famous example of subterranean fiction is Jules Verne’s 1864 science fiction novel A Trip to the Highway of Earth, which has been adapted many times as a feature film and television. The novel is not an example of The Hollow Earth because its characters are actually 87 people

Layers Of The Earth.