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Discovery reveals hard metallic truth at Earth’s centre

A seismic discovery has shaken Australia’s most basic understanding of the Earth by revealing that its centre is not a gooey mass, but a solid metallic ball.

February 22, 2023
By Kat Wong
22 February 2023

Australian scientists have made a ground-breaking discovery deep below the Earth’s surface.

Their research confirms a 20-year-old hypothesis by revealing the planet, much like a Kinder Surprise, has an hard, inedible mass at its centre. 

Beneath the planet’s well-known crunchy crust, molten mantle, and creamy outer and inner core, scientists found a surprise fifth layer comprised of a solid metallic ball.

Australian National University researcher Professor Hrvoje Tkalčić says the discovery reveals a lot about the planet’s evolution.

“It’s a fossilised record that serves as a gateway into the events of our planet’s past,” he said.

Researchers made the discovery by analysing seismic waves journeying to the centre of the Earth, according to their findings released on Wednesday.

In one instance, an earthquake from Alaska triggered seismic waves in the south Atlantic, before bouncing back to its origin.

Using this information, scientists examined the speed and trajectory of the waves and found evidence of a hard metal mass made from an iron-nickel alloy. 

The new research, published in Nature Communications, suggests a major global event occurred during the Earth’s evolution that caused a significant change in the texture of the planet’s core.

But Professor Tkalčić says there is much more to learn. 

“There are still many unanswered questions about the Earth’s innermost inner core, which could hold the secrets to piecing together the mystery of our planet’s formation.”

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