Earth’s `frozen` inner core formed 1-1.5 bn yrs ago

Washington D.C, Oct 8 (ANI): A new study has indicated that Earth’s inner core was formed 1-1.5 billion years ago.

There have been many estimates for when the earth’s inner core was formed, but scientists from the University of Liverpool have used new data which indicates that the Earth’s inner core was formed 1 – 1.5 billion years ago as it “froze” from the surrounding molten iron outer core.

The inner core is Earth’s deepest layer. It is a ball of solid iron just larger than Pluto which is surrounded by a liquid outer core. The inner core is a relatively recent addition to our planet and establishing when it was formed is a topic of vigorous scientific debate with estimates ranging from 0.5 billion to 2 billion years ago

Researchers from the University’s School of Environmental Sciences analysed magnetic records from ancient igneous rocks and found that there was a sharp increase in the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field between 1 and 1.5 billion years ago.

This increased magnetic field is a likely indication of the first occurrence of solid iron at Earth’s centre and the point in Earth’s history at which the solid inner core first started to “freeze” out from the cooling molten outer core.

Lead author Andy Biggin said that this finding could change the understanding of the Earth’s interior and its history.

The results suggest that the Earth’s core is cooling down less quickly than previously thought which has implications for the whole of Earth Sciences. It also suggests an average growth rate of the solid inner core of approximately 1mm per year which affects our understanding of the Earth’s magnetic field.

The study is published in the journal Nature. (ANI)

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