The Earth may have unlocked a fifth core layer

Chioma Onyema

A new scientific study by seismologists from The Australian National University has uncovered that the Earth may have five major layers, instead of the four that have been traditionally taught — the crust, the mantle, the outer core and the inner core.

This was, however, not the first-time scientists had suspected the Earth to have an additional layer. Around two decades ago, geoscientists suggested there was an extra layer. It wasn’t until recently that this hypothesis has gained such momentum.

This study was conducted using “new data sets collected by measuring the seismic waves of earthquakes as they passed through Earth’s center,” according to the seismologists.

The seismologists observed that these seismic waves vibrate along Earth’s diameter up to five times. Seismic waves are vibrations that travel throughout the Earth’s surface and inner layers. These waves are responsible for earthquakes and volcanoes.

The travel times of the waves demonstrated the presence of an internal shell with a radius of about 650 kilometers, separate from the outer layer of Earth’s inner core.

Moreover, the seismologists suggested that the mere existence of Earth’s possible fifth core layer might stem from­ a huge global event that significantly spurred an alteration in the crystal structure or texture of the Earth’s inner core.

The implications of this study include the increased understanding of the planet’s history and evolution, which is pivotal for analyzing how and why aspects of Earth function the way they do.

This study gives fresh insight on the workings of Earth’s inner core which can help scientists accurately assess Earth’s magnetic field that is responsible for protecting the planet from harmful radiation in space.

The ANU seismologists advised further investigation and research focused on the transition process between Earth’s innermost inner core and the inner core’s outer shell to better understand the Earth’s interior and history.

Despite humans calling the Earth their home for roughly 200,000 years, this study serves as a reminder that not everything about this planet is known.

Newfound reports and studies prove that Earth has an everlasting element of surprise, regardless of how long humans have inhabited it.

“There are still many unanswered questions about the Earth’s innermost inner core,” said one seismologist involved in this study.

The Earth’s mysterious fifth core layer might just be the tip of the iceberg of a much more mind-blowing future discovery.