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The Earth's inner core, previously believed to be solid or liquid, is actually superionic

By: April Carson

Researchers have discovered that Earth's core may possess a structure that no other state of matter has. The latest research has shown that the inner core of our planet may be a single, crystalized mineral made up of iron and nickel. This is contrary to what was once believed about the Earth's core, which thought it was one of two things: solid or liquid.

According to a report by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) newspaper Daily Bruin, Yu He, a scientist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and co-author of a study published this month in Nature, said the equations were at odds with what researchers previously believed about the inner core.

The inner core, which is only 13 miles (21 kilometers) thick, generates a "superionic state" made up of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. It's unlike any other solid or liquid form, according to him.

"People didn't think it was possible to create this kind of superionic state in the laboratory, but now we know that we can do so under certain conditions," said He.

The researchers used an intense beam of x-rays shot at incredibly strong diamonds to create the necessary pressure and heat for the experiment.

This advancement will better help researchers to understand the earth's magnetic field, because the movement of this superionic state is what generates it.

"We are now able to understand why the magnetic field is relatively weak in comparison with other planets," said He. "Having a better understanding of Earth's magnetic field will help us answer one of the fundamental questions in geophysics: how magnetic fields are generated."

"It's rather strange," he added in a statement to USA TODAY. "The solidification of iron at the center core boundary does not hinder light particles' mobility, and light element convection continues throughout the inner core."

Is our planet becoming "inactive"? According to a new study, Earth's core is swiftly cooling.

Because the Earth's core was not directly investigated, the researchers utilized earthquake data to construct models that represented the pressures and temperatures found at the inner core. During his research, He identified "superionic" superheated solid and liquid states in the simulations rather than a compacted iron alloy ball.

The research leaves one outstanding question: What is the origin of this superionic form in the Earth's inner core? He added that further study was required.

The team plans to conduct further studies by simulating the conditions in the center of super-Earths (planets more massive than Earth), since it is possible that their structure would differ from ours.

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About the Blogger:

April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on

To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav



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