Faster cooling of Earth’s interiors may turn our Earth into a barren rock

By: | January 22nd, 2022

Image courtesy Wikimedia commons

Researchers from Carnegie Institution for Science and ETH Zurich, a public research university in Switzerland have found that the Earth’s interior is cooling much faster than originally anticipated.

Earth was formed about 4.5 billion years. Young Earth had extreme temperatures and was covered by a deep ocean of magma. Ever since then, it’s been slowly cooling on the inside.

Earth will probably turn into a barren rock

Earth’s interior is continuously cooling down. So ultimately the interior will solidify and our Earth will probably turn into a barren rock, like Mars or Mercury. But according to this new study, that may happen sooner than previously thought.

For this study, researchers studied the thermal properties of bridgmanite. The Bridgmanite makes up 70% of the boundary between Earth’s mantle and outer core. In a lab simulation, researchers applied enormous amounts of pressure and heat to bridgmanite. They did so for simulating the conditions deep below the surface. After that, they measured its thermal conductivity for getting an idea of the cooling processes at play.

Researchers were surprised by the results. ETH professor Motohiko Murakami, lead author of a paper said, “This measurement system let us show that the thermal conductivity of bridgmanite is about 1.5 times higher than assumed,”

Professor Murakami explained, “Our results could give us a new perspective on the evolution of the Earth’s dynamics,”

“They suggest that Earth, like the other rocky planets Mercury and Mars, is cooling and becoming inactive much faster than expected.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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