Articles

Models of the Earth's Core

Science  06 Nov 1981:
Vol. 214, Issue 4521, pp. 611-619
DOI: 10.1126/science.214.4521.611

Abstract

Combined inferences from seismology, high-pressure experiment and theory, geomagnetism, fluid dynamics, and current views of terrestrial planetary evolution lead to models of the earth's core with the following properties. Core formation was contemporaneous with earth accretion; the core is not in chemical equilibrium with the mantle; the outer core is a fluid iron alloy containing significant quantities of lighter elements and is probably almost adiabatic and compositionally uniform; the more iron-rich inner solid core is a consequence of partial freezing of the outer core, and the energy release from this process sustains the earth's magnetic field; and the thermodynamic properties of the core are well constrained by the application of liquid-state theory to seismic and laboratory data.

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