The Earth’s inner core is in a superionic state

The Earth’s inner core is in a superionic state


Scientists have long thought that there are some light elements that exist in the innermost core of the Earth, because the density of this core is lower than pure iron.

Those light elements could be silicon, hydrogen, carbon and oxygen, according to the scientists, but the matter of their state in the Earth’s innermost core is rarely studied. Recently, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences discovered that the innermost core of the Earth is not in a normal solid state but a superionic state.

The research team from the Institute of Geochemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Advanced Research Center for High Pressure Science and Technology in Beijing conducted research on many alloys, including iron and other elements. light, under conditions of high pressure and temperature that simulate conditions in the Earth’s innermost core. They found that light elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon in alloys with iron transition to a superionic state in the Earth’s innermost core, as demonstrated by having high liquid-like diffusivity. This suggests that the Earth’s innermost core may be in a superionic state rather than a normal solid state.

The superionic state is a special intermediate state of matter that has both solid and liquid properties. For example, in superionic water, oxygen ions form a crystal lattice as in the solid state, while hydrogen ions move around like in the liquid state.

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