Our planet Earth may have not one, but two inner cores!

Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Mar 10, 2021, 12:18 PM(IST)

A file photo of Earth from space Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Story highlights

What we usually call our “inner core” is usually perceived as the centre of our planet, and its innermost layer. But turns out, the inner core has an inner core of its own!

Our universe is extremely complex, and there is perhaps a lot we might never be able to grasp. But understanding our own planet - the Earth is a good place to start! And while scientists recently attempted to pursue this goal, they were shocked to see that our planet has another layer locked deep inside its core.

What we usually call our “inner core” is usually perceived as the centre of our planet, and its innermost layer. But turns out, the inner core has an inner core of its own!

A challenge to traditional understanding

The traditional understanding of Earth puts forward four layers - the crust, the mantle, the outer core, and the inner core. Each layer represents the history of our planet’s creation and evolution.

Also read: Scientists discover oldest volcanic rock to exist on Earth

Most knowledge about the planet’s insides comes from what volcanoes around the globe have spewed out over the years, along with directions of seismic waves. Scientists believe with a temperature running upto 5,000 degrees Celsius (9,000 Fahrenheit), the inner core represents only a per cent of the planet’s volume.

Now, researchers think there are two layers within the inner core, something researchers believe would “rewrite textbooks”.  The research was undertaken by a team from the Australian National University.

How did they do it?

Based on gatherings from the International Seismological Centre, the team used algorithms to go through various models of our planet’s inner core - taking into account data about how long seismic waves take to travel through the planet. 

Also read: Scientists just spotted most distant radio blast to ever reach Earth!

Then, the scientists conducted an anisotropy, which essentially tracked how differences in core’s material changed the properties of seismic waves. They found that the depth of the inner core did not throw up many variations, but there was a change 54 degree angle change. 

"We found evidence that may indicate a change in the structure of iron, which suggests perhaps two separate cooling events in Earth's history," Joanne Stephenson, the lead author of the study said told the University.

Read in App