PerspectiveGEOSCIENCE

Hydrogen: An Important Constituent of the Core?

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Science  05 Dec 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5344, pp. 1727
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5344.1727

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Summary

The Earth's core is a substantial part of its mass, yet we know very little about how it was formed. In his Perspective, Wood discusses results published in the same issue by Okuchi in which high-pressure experiments were carried out to determine how hydrogen reacts with iron at conditions similar to those in the core. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the new findings show that rather than simply escaping the planet during its formation, hydrogen was incorporated into the iron core to become the most abundant light element.