Hot in there


If you think the Sun, at a temperature of 5,500°C, is the hottest thing around, check your facts again.

The temperature near Earth’s center has now been determined to be 6,000°C. This is 1,000°C hotter than previous estimates. Earth is believed to have a solid core, consisting mainly of iron in a crystalline state, surrounded by an outer core of scorching-hot liquid.

The temperature of the solid core has long been the subject of debate.

But using a new technique, which utilises fast X-ray diffraction, it was concluded that at 3.3 million atmospheres—the estimated pressure between the liquid and solid core—temperature of molten iron would be 6,000°C.

The figure validates today’s best theories on generation of Earth’s magnetic field.


Down To Earth, May 2013