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14 Apr, 2020 14:25

Is EVERYTHING broken? Earth has a 'leaky core' resulting in iron-rich lava eruptions, researchers find

Is EVERYTHING broken? Earth has a 'leaky core' resulting in iron-rich lava eruptions, researchers find

Amid growing anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic, it would be nice if we could at least rely upon the solidity of the Earth. Think again, says a new study, which found the inner layer of our planet is discharging metal material.

The Earth's molten core may be leaking iron, according to scientists at the University of California, Davis.

The study concluded that a huge drop in temperature from our planet's liquid iron core to the outer rocky mantle pulls heavier iron isotopes out towards the Earth's surface, while lighter iron isotopes remain within the core.

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The discovery could serve as a breakthrough in how we understand the onion-like layers below the soil, and particularly core-mantle interaction.

The researchers' findings could also potentially explain why there are more heavy iron isotopes in mantle rocks, as opposed to other materials that make up the Earth's layers — revealing that the core has been oozing heavy metal for quite some time.

"The results suggest iron from the core has been leaking into the mantle for billions of years," said lead author Charles Lesher.

For those not particularly interested in what's happening 1,800 miles (2,900 km) below the Earth's surface, the study has another intriguing finding: The leaky core is likely responsible for the high levels of iron deposits found in volcanic eruptions off the coast of Samoa and Hawaii.

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