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Science

Scientists Simulate Creation of Earth to Determine Core Density

In an attempt to determine the density of our planet’s core, scientists have attempted to simulate Earth’s formation, and found that Earth’s core contains the largest reservoir of carbon on the planet.

Or should we say in the planet …

I’m sorry. I’ll shut up now.

Earth's Core Includes Largest Reservoir of Carbon

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing published their findings in the journal PNAS Early Editin.

“We knew the density of the core, and we knew that metal iron and nickel alone couldn’t account for that density,” said UC Davis geology professor and study co-author Qing-Zhu Yin. “You need something lighter.”

Amongst the contenders were other lightweight elements, including silicon, oxygen, phosphorus, magnesium, hydrogen and nitrogen.

“We played with about 260 atoms to try to simulate Earth’s formation,” Yin said. “We assigned them their basic properties and let the quantum mechanics do the work in the computer. Now we know how to account for that density deficit.”

But what does understanding the make-up of the Earth’s core get us?

“It’s about understanding the nature of the Earth,” Yin said. “We’re able to better understand the physical and chemical processes involved in Earth’s formation.”

Source: University of California, Davis
Image Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



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