A new research found evidence for possible rusting in the Earth’s core. What does it mean for Earth? Find out.
The common phenomenon that we usually find happening on the surface with most iron objects is now being reported for inside the Earth! Rust – the common process that destroys iron is now impacting the ‘core’ of the Earth too, a new study revealed. Scientists suggest that there are major changes that are taking place in Earth’s physiology and their effect may not be immediate. But Earth’s core, which is situated about 2,900 kilometres below the surface, is made up of molten iron and nickel alloy and is now getting rusty!
This new study, published in the journal Advancing Earth and Space Science suggests rust could be the Earth’s core enemy! Generally, rusting happens when metal iron is exposed to moist air or any form of oxygenated water that leads to a chemical reaction leaving a reddish residue on the surface of the objects and making the iron weak. As the Earth’s core is predominantly made of molten iron, there are chances that it could rust as well. Also Read: First ever HR image of Earth’s interior, 3,000 KM below surface, captured
Is Earth really rusting? What scientists have found
A recent study revealed that the scientists have created million-atmosphere pressure conditions that would exist in Earth’s core and then they let moisture enter the iron in the form of a hydroxyl-bearing mineral. Under such scenarios, scientists have observed that it produced iron peroxide, which indicates that Earth’s core can get rust as well. Also Read: Are Comets falling stars? Can they strike Earth? NASA reveals what they are
The report in the Advancing Earth and Space Science journal suggests that this rust could share more details about the deep-water cycle in the lower mantle. “It could also help to answer questions about the Great Oxidation Event (GOE), which marked the beginning of Earth’s oxygen-rich atmosphere some 2.5 billion to 2.3 billion years ago,” the report mentioned.
What does this rusting mean for Earth?
Volcanic eruptions are the key for scientists to get a peek inside Earth. And if rusting has taken place inside the Earth at its core, then a layer carrying certain seismic signatures ought to have formed at the Core-Mantle Boundary of the Earth. “If the pieces of the puzzle all fall into place, then rusting of the core may, indeed, be a massive internal oxygen generator in Earth— and the next great atmospheric oxygenation event could be on its way,” the scientist mentioned in the research paper. Though, scientists are yet to identify the main cause of the oxygenation event in Earth’s core that may have resulted in rust.