Earth’s core too hot ‘n heavy for oxygen, but may have rusty coating 

Image of magnetic field lines originating in planetary core.

Enlarge (credit: Hubble
Site
)

We live on the most comfortable of planets. It may not be too
visible, but the Earth’s magnetic field plays a critical role in
maintaining that comfort. The remaining rocky planets in our Solar
System have much weaker magnetic fields and, as a result, are
subject to a constant bombardment of high-energy particles from the
Sun. Yes, our biosphere owes a great deal to a pool of molten iron
at the core of our planet.

Yet the core presents something of a puzzle to us. The extreme
conditions make it very hard to understand: we cannot conduct
experiments that fully replicate core conditions, and our
measurements are indirect, since no one wants to visit the core.
That leaves us with computer models. Until recently, these models
were rather limited. However, ever-increasing computational power
is starting to reveal that the core has an interesting story to
tell
.

Onions not parfait

Our planet, like all planets, is born of violence. The
aggregation of mass during its growth came via large impacts and
oceans of molten rock. Gravity provided a kind of filter: the heavy
elements like iron were pulled to the core, while light elements
like silicon and oxygen were left floating on the top.

Read 9 remaining
paragraphs

Source: FS – All – Science – News
Earth’s core too hot ‘n heavy for oxygen, but may have rusty coating