The Unknown 5% of the Earth's Core May Be Made Up of This Metalloid

Admin | Published 2017-01-16 22:08

The mystery element that thrives deep beneath the earth's core along with iron and nickel may be this naturally sleek metalloid, according to Japanese scientists.

Our planet's center is composed of about 85 percent iron and 10 percent nickel. But the remaining 5 percent - have been suspected to be any of these three: sulphur, oxygen and silicon.

Credit: BBC

The geophysicist from Tohoku University of northern Japan, Eiji Ohtani and his team have laid down their verdict - and it's silicon.

To prove that, they only just have to mix those three elements separately with iron and nickel in high temperatures and pressure. It was only with the silicon, iron and nickel mix that have returned a comparable match with seismic data from the earth's inner core. “Our latest experiments suggest that the remaining five percent of the inner core is composed mostly of silicon,” explained Ohtani. This result with silicon will open our understanding on how abundant or scarce the oxygen had been when our planet formed. Other scientists argued that if silicon is indeed the third element found in the earth's core, then that means the rest of the planet must have been relatively oxygen rich at the time of its formation. But if it isn't silicon but oxygen, the rest of the Earth was scarce with oxygen from the beginning. Ohtani partially agrees saying, “But it doesn’t necessarily mean the rest of the planet was oxygen rich because there is a possibility that oxygen did not exist as an element of the Earth at its formation in the first place.” Source: See: The Sun’s Surface Spins Slower Than Its Core Until It Stops, Physicists Bare Why
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