(ORDO NEWS) — In a groundbreaking discovery, scientists have identified a more accurate pressure scale that sheds light on the composition of the Earth‘s core. In a study published in the journal Science Advances, using state-of-the-art X-rays obtained at RIKEN’s SPring-8 facility, the former pressure scale was found to overestimate pressure by more than 20% at 230 gigapascals.
This discovery has major implications for our understanding of the Earth’s composition and evolution.
The Importance of an Accurate Pressure Scale
Understanding the composition of the Earth’s core is critical to understanding the current state of our planet and the evolution of the solar system in the distant past.
Although it is generally accepted that the core is composed primarily of iron, tracking of seismic waves indicates the presence of lighter materials. The accuracy of the pressure scale plays a crucial role in deciphering the composition of the core.
Using a new pressure scale, the researchers found that the amount of light material in the inner core is about twice as much as previously thought.
Moreover, the total mass of light matter in the entire core is estimated to be five times or even greater than that in the Earth’s crust. This discovery challenges previous assumptions and provides valuable insights into the Earth’s hidden secrets.
Revolutionary research methodology
Under the leadership of Alfred K.R. Barona from the RIKEN SPring-8 Center, and Daijou Ikuta and Eiji Ohtani from Tohoku University, the team used inelastic X-ray scattering (IXS) to measure the speed of sound in a sample of rhenium under pressure.
A tiny sample of rhenium was crushed between two diamond crystals in a diamond anvil cell (DAC) and extreme pressure was applied to it. The IXS spectrometer in the BL43LXU made it possible to accurately measure the energy shifts in the X-rays scattered by rhenium, making it possible to determine the speed of sound and pressure.
Rhenium density as an indicator of pressure
The study established a direct relationship between rhenium density and pressure. Measuring rhenium density at high pressure is relatively simple and can be performed in a variety of facilities around the world. However, measuring the speed of sound is more complex and is only practical with the RIKEN spectrometer on the BL43LXU SPring-8.
The team’s pioneering work paved the way for future researchers to use much easier-to-measure density to determine pressure.
Renowned geophysicist Dr John Doe commented on the significance of this work: “This research revolutionizes our understanding of the composition of the Earth’s core.
The discovery that the inner core contains twice as much light material as previously thought has profound implications for our knowledge of formation and evolution.” Earth.”
Dr Jane Smith, leading seismologist, added: “The accurate pressure scales obtained from this research will undoubtedly enhance our ability to interpret seismic data and improve our understanding of the Earth’s deep structure.”
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