Simulation suggests the center of the planet formed 3 billion years before the rest of its deepest layer
Photo courtesy of Lachina Publishing Services
SAN FRANCISCO — Earth’s deepest realm may be billions of years older than previously thought. New simulations of the planet’s formation suggest that the innermost part of the inner core solidified shortly after Earth’s assembly, rather than roughly 3 billion years later alongside the rest of the inner core.
Though not all scientists are convinced, the new proposal offers insights into the early days of Earth and other rocky planets such as Mars, said George Helffrich, who presented the findings December 17 at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting.
“This early inner core might actually be one of the most ancient solid objects we have in the whole entire planet,” said Helffrich, a geophysicist at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
Earth’s innards are divided into layers: a solid iron-rich inner core, a molten iron outer