Earth’s Core 1,000 Degrees Hotter Than Expected
By Elizabeth Howell, 2013
Earth’s internal engine is running about 1,000 degrees Celsius (about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than previously measured, providing a better explanation for how the planet generates a magnetic field, a new study has found.
A team of scientists has measured the melting point of iron at high precision in a laboratory, and then drew from that result to calculate the temperature at the boundary of Earth’s inner and outer core — now estimated at 6,000 C (about 10,800 F). That’s as hot as the surface of the sun.
The difference in temperature matters, because this explains how the Earth generates its magnetic field. The Earth has a solid inner core surrounded by a liquid outer core, which, in turn, has the solid, but flowing, mantle above it. There needs to be a 2,700-degree F (1,500 C) difference between the inner core and the mantle to spur “thermal movements” that — along with Earth’s spin — create the magnetic field.
Earth’s Core is Hotter Than the Sun
The Sun’s huge boiling convection cells, in the outer visible layer, called the photosphere, have a temperature of 5,500°C.
The Earth’s core temperature is about 6100ºC. The inner core, under huge pressure, is solid and may be a single immense iron crystal. The outer core is liquid, and probably acts as a dynamo creating our magnetic field.
But before you get the wrong impression, keep in mind that the core of the Sun is a broiling 15,000,000ºC. That’s enough to vaporize rocks in a comet that gets too close, and enough to give you a nasty burn 93,000,000 million miles away after just a few minutes exposure when you’re sun bathing.
Source: http://wow-really.blogspot.com/2006/11/earths-core-is-hotter-than-sun.html (Main source: Wikipedia)