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Scientists Discover Earth's 'fifth Layer' after Detecting Signs of a Hidden Structure inside Core

A recent breakthrough discovery, some geoscientists have identified signs of an unknown hidden structure inside the core of our Earth. This structure could be changed the age-old narrative that what is inside the center of our earth? Reportedly, scientists identified some changes in the structure of iron elements inside the inner core and that recommended demarcating a new “boundary line” extended up to 580 kilometers from the center of the planet. This newly discovered layer is termed as the “fifth layer” of the earth interior apart from well-known four layers – 1) the earth crust, 2) the mantle (can be divided into the upper and lower mantle), 3) the outer core and 4) the inner core.

Internal structure and layers of the Earth (Graphical illustration) Source: iStock/GettyImages

According to the report published by Daily Mail, for more than a decade this hidden layer has been assumed by the researchers but there were no signs detected to prove its existence. But now after this recent discovery, the lead scientist of this research work Joanne Stephenson, a geophysicist at Australian National University, is stated to the news media that “it’s very exciting” and she has recommended that rewriting of textbooks might have been needed to incorporate the newly discovered layers of the earth's interior. Ph.D. researcher Joanne Stephenson also stated that "The details of this big event are still a bit of a mystery, but we've added another piece of the puzzle when it comes to our knowledge of the Earth's inner core."


How did scientists identify this layer? 

In an experiment at the International Seismological Centre, the travel time records for seismic waves traveling in the earth's interior have been captured and used by researchers. Subsequently, they used a noble algorithm to explore those recorded data to detect and evidence of transformation in the structure and compositions of Earth’s inner core. Despite significantly difficulty to identify the minor changes in structure, the scientists are very competent in revealed two different cooling events of the earth's interior structure in the history of the planet.

Differences in seismic wave paths throughout the inside layers of Earth (Stephenson et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 2021)

Our understanding and knowledge about the structure and composition of the Erath interior beneath the crust has been incidental and mostly acquired from volcanic eruptions and assumed seismic wave propagation. From this indirect observation and insufficient information, scientists have estimated that the blazing hot inner core more than 5,000˚ Celsius (9,000˚ F) cover-up only 1% of Earth’s total volume.


It also implies that in the earliest years of Earth’s evolution, at least 4.56 billion years ago, the planet went through a dramatic and previously unknown event at some point. Stephenson explains that the details of this particular “big event are still a bit of mystery” but the researchers were able to add another “piece of puzzle” when it comes to the knowledge about Earth’s core. Even though the observations were indirect, geologists were able to determine that the inner core of Earth reaches temperatures of more than 5,000 degrees Celsius and is relatively smaller in area, that is, it makes up only 1% of the total volume of Earth. 

Different layers of the Earth's internal structure (Source: Drmakkoy/gettyimages

About 4.5 billion years ago, during the beginning of earth's evolution, at some point, our planet had gone through a dramatic and early mysterious event and we don’t even aware of that. Mr. Stephenson elucidated the entire scenario regarding this and quoted “big events are still a bit of mystery” but our research team members were able to insert another “piece of puzzle” when it comes to the understanding of the Earth’s core.


Although, this research failed to explain large variations of the structure along with depth in the inner core, but did identify there was an alteration in the flow direction to a 54-degree angle, with the faster direction of waves running parallel to the axis (T. Koumoundouros). Probably more advanced techniques and methods may soon fill up these information gaps and will allow researchers to revealed more inside stories of the earth's history and evolution.


This research was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

References -Republic Word Science Alert |Daily Mail

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