Earth’s inner core isn’t a soft ball, it’s ‘tight’

he Earth’s inner core It is a wonderful and mysterious part of our planet that has captivated scientists for many decades. And now, it seems that, contrary to previous assumptions about this issue, the Earth’s inner core is not a uniform mass, but rather resembles a diverse tissue made up of different “tissues”, according to the conclusions of the latest published study. magazine Nature Communications.

So things are opening up A new window into the deepest depths of our planet, The inner core is not the homogeneous mass scientists once assumed, but something much more complex.

“For the first time we confirm that this kind of heterogeneity is ubiquitous within the inner core,” explains Guanying Pang, of Cornell University’s Department of Geology and Geophysics and lead author of the new study.

Earth’s inner core isn’t a soft ball, it’s ‘tight’Midjourney / Sarah Romero

The researchers analyzed thousands of earthquakes that bounce off Earth’s solid, mineral core. Specifically, they used seismic data from a global network of 20 sets of seismographs designed to detect subtle signals from underground nuclear explosions. These consist of instruments placed in holes drilled up to 10 meters deep in granite formations, arranged in patterns to enhance the signals they pick up, similar to satellite dishes. by measuring this back scatter In a global network of detectors, scientists have been able to map its internal structure.

“The biggest finding we have is that heterogeneity tends to be stronger as you go deeper. Toward the center of the Earth, it tends to be stronger,” Pang said. “We think this texture is related to how fast the inner core grows. A long time ago, the inner core grew very quickly. “It reached equilibrium and then started to grow much more slowly,” said seismologist Keith Cooper, a co-author of the paper.

The researchers say their discovery provides “new insight” into how Earth’s inner core has grown and solidified over time. “Not all of the iron has turned into a solid, so some liquid iron could get stuck inside.” experts conclude.

Earth’s inner core It is the innermost layer of our planet, located about 6,371 kilometers below the Earth’s surface.. It is thought to consist primarily of an alloy of iron and nickel, with some lighter elements such as oxygen, silicon, and sulfur present as well. The inner core is characterized by its solid state, despite the extreme pressures and temperatures present in this region.


Earth’s geological layers

The Earth is made up of several distinct layers, each with its own unique characteristics. These layers, from outermost to innermost:

Dandruff: Earth’s crust is the outermost layer, consisting of continental and oceanic crust. This layer consists mostly of silicate rocks and is between 5 and 70 kilometers thick.

cloakBeneath the crust is the mantle, which makes up about 84% of the Earth’s volume. The mantle is composed of solid rock, but it behaves like a viscous liquid on geological time scales, allowing the convection process to occur.

outer core: The outer core is a layer of cast iron and nickel that surrounds the inner core. It is about 2,200 km thick and is responsible for generating the Earth’s magnetic field through the geodynamo process.

The inner core: The inner core, as mentioned above, is the innermost layer of the Earth and consists primarily of an alloy of iron and nickel.


  • Guanning Pang, Enhanced microscale geocentric internal smoothing, Nature (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-06213-2.
  • Phạm, TS. , Tkalči, H. Five-fold frequency waves through the center of the Earth and the distinctly anisotropic inner core. Nat Common 14, 754 (2023).
  • “Dynamic history of the inner core constrained by seismic variance,” By Daniel A. Frost, Maren Lasplace, Brian Chandler and Barbara Romanovich, June 3, 2021, Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/s41561-021-00761-w
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