The Earth’s Interior Layers – Part 4, The Inner Core

Finally! You’ve reached the solid inner core and boy, is it hot! This interior core is roughly 3,200 miles deep! The inner core is made of solid metal. This metal is iron with a little bit of nickel. The core is approximately 1516 miles in diameter and is hotter than the sun’s surface. Ouch!

Are you feeling the squeeze here? You are feeling the pinch of the tremendous pressure at the center of the Earth. This pressure is the force that keeps the inner core solid. Scientists believe that the inner core reaches temperatures of 11,000 degrees F with pressures that are 3.5 Million times greater than the pressure at the surface of the Earth.

New scientific research indicates that the inner core may, in fact, be a huge iron crystal. Scientists are using supercomputers to determine the likelihood that the iron is in a crystal form, and if so, what type of crystal may comprise the core. The inner core may be hot, but that research is super cool!


Images Courtesy NASA & USGS
Crystal at the Center of the Earth; Ronald Cohen and Lars Stixrude; Carnegie Institute of Washington
Earth’s Interior; J. Louie; University of Nevada Reno; 1996
Structure of the Interior of the Earth; Lisa Gardiner; National Earth Science Teacher Association; 2010
The Interior of the Earth; Eugene C. Robertson; USGS

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