The Inner Core – Earth’s Fascinating Layers, Part 4

If you missed Part 1 of our Earth’s Fascinating Layers series, The Crust, click here.

If you missed Part 2 of our Earth’s Fascinating Layers series, The Mantle, click here.

If you missed Part 3 of our Earth’s Fascinating Layers series, The Outer Core, click here.

Finally! You have reached the solid inner core of the Earth that is about 3,200 miles below the land surface and boy, is it hot in here!

The Earth’s Solid Core

The inner core of the Earth is made of solid metal. This metal is mostly iron with a little bit of nickel. The core is approximately 1,516 miles in diameter and is hotter than the sun’s surface. Ouch!

Heat and Pressure at the Earth’s Core

Are you feeling the squeeze down here? You are feeling the pinch of the tremendous pressure at the center of the Earth. This pressure is the force that keeps the inner core solid. Scientists believe that the inner core reaches temperatures of almost 7,000°C with pressures that are 3.5 million times greater than the pressure at the surface of the Earth.

New scientific research indicates that the inner core may be a huge iron crystal. Scientists are using supercomputers to determine the likelihood that the iron is in a crystal form, and if so, what type of crystal may comprise the core. The inner core may be hot, but that research is super cool!

Thank you for taking the journey with us through the layers of the Earth. If you missed any of the previous layers, click the links at the top. For more awesome geology information, keep exploring the great articles on our blog or visit the Dig Into Geology section of our website for more fun, free resources.

Images Courtesy NASA & USGS
Sources:
Crystal at the Center of the Earth; Ronald Cohen and Lars Stixrude; Carnegie Institute of Washington
Earth’s Interior; J. Louie; University of Nevada Reno; 1996
Structure of the Interior of the Earth; Lisa Gardiner; National Earth Science Teacher Association; 2010
The Interior of the Earth; Eugene C. Robertson; USGS

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