Scientists discover ‘missing element’ in Earth’s core

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Tokyo: Japanese scientists said that they have found the identity of a missing element in Earth’s centre, for which they had been looking for decades.

According to the scientists, this element makes up significant portion of earth’s core after iron and nickel.

After conducting experiments of heat and pressure deeper inside the Earth, they say that the element might be silicon.

The discovery would assist humans to better understand how our universe came into existence.

Lead researcher Eiji Ohtani from the University of Tohoku told BBC News: “We believe that silicon is a major element – about 5 per cent of the Earth’s inner core by weight could be silicon dissolved into the iron-nickel alloys.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the inner most portion of Earth is considered to be a solid ball with a radius of 1200km (745 miles).

It’s much difficult to examine directly inside the Earth core so the scientists are working on the seismic waves how they pass through the core.

The scientists say that the experiments have been exciting because they can give details into Earth’s interior.

Professor Simon Redfern at University of Cambridge informed that Earth mainly composed of 85 per cent of iron and 10 per cent of nickel.

In order to determine the remaining 5 per cent of the portion, the scientists created alloys of iron and nickel and mixed them with silicon items and later passed the mixture through immense pressure and temperature.

They found that the mixture of iron, nickel and core matched with what was seen in the Earth’s interior with seismic data.

Commenting on the research, Prof Simon Redfern from the University of Cambridge, UK, said: “These difficult experiments are really exciting because they can provide a window into what Earth’s interior was like soon after it first formed, 4.5 billion years ago, when the core first started to separate from the rocky parts of Earth.

“But other workers have recently suggested that oxygen might also be important in the core.”

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