Earth's core leaves scientists stumped as it's discovered in rare 'superionic' state

Scientists have been left stunned by a staggering discovery after a study suggested that the Earth's core is in an ultra-rare ‘superionic' state.

This means that the inner core of the Blue Planet has a strange composition of elements that make It both solid and liquid at the very same time. The core is a 1,220-kilometer (760 mile) ball buried deep beneath the crust of Earth.

According to new research

According to new research has suggested that a mixture of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon make it neither solid nor liquid. This is called a “superionised” state, another state of matter like a solid, liquid or gas but with particular differences.

The research paper suggests that the inner core can be in a superionic state rather than a normal solid-state." The team worked this out by using computer simulations to investigate how seismic waves could travel through certain combinations of elements.

They also involved quantum mechanics theory to help explain how atoms and particles react at the microscopic level. They found that iron atoms were “solid” but carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules produced a liquid-like element.

Alloys changed into a superionic state.

This means the alloys changed into a superionic state. Yu He from the Chinese Academy of Science, who led the research, said: "It is quite abnormal.

“The solidification of iron at the inner core boundary does not change the mobility of these light elements, and the convection of light elements is continuous in the inner core. Now, the findings may completely change our understanding of processes that involve the core of the Earth.

A whole new hidden world

The discovery also builds on an earlier study which found that the Earth’s core is made up of more than just iron. Jessica Irving, a seismologist at the University of Bristol, said the discovery unveiled “a whole new hidden world”.

But it is agreed that we still know little about the Earth’s inner core, which supposedly charges and stabilises our magnetic field, a geological force field that protects us from harmful radiation.

Some theories say the inner core actually rotates at the same speed as the rest of the planet. But another theory says the rate of inner core rotation is something that varies over time.

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