Research and analysis yield fascinating results. There are times when a new element is found. And, there are instances when a theory is proved right. The mysteries are solved and immense unfurls at the same time.
So, a lot of experiments had been going on since long considering what made up the Earth’s core. Recently the Japanese scientists have come up with the conclusion that they have been able to establish the identity of the missing element of the core of the Earth.
In accordance with the lead researcher Eiji Ohtani, Tohoku University- “We believe that silicon is a major element – about 5% [of the Earth’s inner core] by weight could be silicon dissolved into the iron-nickel alloys.”
But, how did they come to such a conclusion and what are the difficulties they faced.
- The core of the Earth is a solid ball, which has a radius of 1,200 km almost 745 miles.
- It is really tedious to find out directly.
- Hence, scientist studies the manner in which the seismic waves pass through this region, so that they are able to make up of its constituent.
- The core is made of iron and nickel.
- Iron makes about 85% of its weight.
- Nickel makes about 10% of its weight
- However, the 5% is still to be accounted for.
- Eiji Ohtani and his team fabricated alloys of iron and nickel.
- They mixed them with silicon.
- The alloy was then subjected to high pressure and temperatures that is found in the inner core.
- The mixture was then matched to that gained from the interior of the Earth with the aid of seismic data.
- And, indeed the two matched.
- However, Prof Ohtani says that still more work was needed to confirm the presence of silicon.
- Also, that the experiment cannot rule out the presence of other elements.
Other researchers have also commented on the research, like Prof Simon Refern, University of Cambridge, UK. In according to him, that finding the constituent of the Earth, will aid in better understanding of the condition that prevailed during the formation of the Earth.
In fact, the important aspect that whether oxygen acts as reducing condition or the oxidizing one, is still to be found out.
Again, there are speculations that if a large amount of Silicon were inculcated in the core of the Earth, almost 4 billion years ago, would imply that the rest of the planet must have become relatively rich in Oxygen, back then.
However, if the oxygen was sucked into the core of the Earth, it would have left the rocky mantle encircling the core lessened of the element.
Hence, all that can be done right now, is to wait for more results and analysis. However, as per now, the third missing element is definitely Silicon, and that makes a total of 3 elements found in the Earth core – iron, nickel and silicon.
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