Open Questions: Deep Structure of the Earth
What heats the earth's core?
- Brief discussion of the four sources of heat inside the
Earth. Most of it is the result of radioactive decay.
- A ScienceWeek
"symposium" consisting of excerpts and summaries of
articles from various sources.
The Inside Story
- September 1996 Scientific American In Depth article,
subtitled "Detailed computer simulations help scientists delve
into the Earth's interior."
- Nice, very well-illustrated overview of the interior structure
of the Earth, by the
Nevada Seismological Laboratory.
Theorists tackle the Earth's core
- October 1999 news article from
"Geophysicists need to know the temperature at which iron melts
at very high pressures in order to understand the structure of
the Earth. Both the solid inner core and the molten outer core,
which extend to 55% of the Earth's radius, consist mainly of
iron. A group of theoretical physicists from the UK has now
calculated the melting curve of iron from first principles."
Volcanic Hot Spots
Science News, July 9, 2005
- Molten messengers from deep within the earth.
- The Inner Workings of the Earth
American Scientist, March-April 1995, pp. 134-147
- Many questions of geophysics, such as the nature of convection
cyles in the mantle, are difficult because of their relative
inaccessibility to observation. A number of these questions are
tied to the nature of the core-mantle boundary 3000 km. below
the surface of the Earth.
- The Mid-Cretaceous Superplume Episode
Roger L. Larson
Scientific American, February 1995, pp. 82-86
- Superplumes are enormous upwellings of hot magma beginning at
the base of the Earth's mantle and rising to the bottom of the
lithosphere. The mid-Cretaceous event of 120 million years ago resulted
in intense volcanic activity in the western Pacific seafloor.
- Studies of the Earth's Deep Interior: Goals and Trends
Thorne Lay; Thomas J. Ahrens; Peter Olson; Joseph Smyth; David Looper
Physics Today, October 1990, pp. 44-52
- Two convective engines are at work in the Earth's interior,
driven by thermal and chemical processes. The engines are coupled
to each other at the core-mantle boundary, 2900 km below the
surface of the Earth.
Copyright © 2002 by Charles Daney, All Rights Reserved