There is a mysterious layer around the Earth’s core. Where did it come from?

There is a mysterious layer around the Earth’s core. Where did it come from?
There is a mysterious layer around the Earth’s core. Where did it come from?

As scientists indicate, for billions of years as a result subduction (this is a process in which one tectonic plate slides under another) water was transported to the lower mantle of our planet. When it reaches the core-mantle boundary, it occurs great chemical interaction.

Dan Shim of Arizona State University said: ‘For years it was thought that there was little exchange of matter between the Earth’s core and the mantle. However, our recent high-pressure experiments reveal a different story. We found that when water reaches the core-mantle boundary, it reacts with silicon in the core to form silica.

The extraordinary mixture that forms the core of our planet produces a magnetic field, which protects us and all life from radiation and the destructive solar wind. Therefore, scientists want to understand at all costs how this particular area of ​​​​the Blue Planet functions and how it changes and evolves.

As geologists note, the core-mantle boundary is “quite abrupt” and despite research, little is known about the chemical exchanges that take place there.

The scientists wrote in their article: “We suggest that this is the case chemical exchange between the core and the mantle over billions of years of deep water transport may have contributed to the formation of the putative E prime layer.

E prime layer was documented several decades ago as a result of detailed seismic studies. It is about several hundred kilometers thick, but until now geologists had no idea how it was formed.

It was discovered that this layer is characterized by, among others, lower density, which may result from different concentrations of light elements such as hydrogen or silicon. During complex laboratory tests, researchers have shown that water entering the Earth’s core as a result of subduction can chemically react with other elements already there, which in turn leads to a change in the outer nucleus.

This fascinating newly discovered process causes the upper layer of the Earth’s core to change and become hydrogen-richand silica penetrates into the lower mantle.

The results also suggest that the discovery has very important implications for the water cycle in the depths of our planet. The scientific team believes their analysis may indicate the existence of a more complex global water cyclethan we previously thought.


– This discovery, along with our earlier observation diamonds formed by the reaction of water with carbon in an iron fluid under extreme pressure, indicates a much more dynamic core-mantle interaction, further suggesting the existence of significant material exchange, says Shim.

The research results were published in a scientific journal Nature Geoscience.


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The article is in Polish

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