We Still Don’t Know What’s Inside Earth’s Core

We’ve never been able to journey to the center of the Earth, but thanks to an incredibly innovative experiment, we may not have to go there to understand what it’s like.

Historically, we’ve explored our planet’s interior using seismic measurements—basically, measuring vibrations that pass through the Earth to tell us more about what’s going on in there.

Thanks to research like this we know the Earth has an innermost, super dense solid core, surrounded by a less dense, liquid outer core But now, an exciting new experiment tells us details about the Earth’s core that we’ve never had access to before by using something called a diamond anvil cell, two diamonds pressed together to create a tremendous amount of pressure, to achieve its results. By putting a sample of a material in a diamond anvil cell we can see how it behaves under these extreme pressures, which is exactly what these researchers did with liquid iron.

Iron is not only the 6th most abundant element in the universe, it’s also thought to make up a large part of the core of our own planet, and the cores of Mercury and Mars.

Find out how this new breakthrough could help us get a better picture of the way Earth’s interior has evolved in this Elements.

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