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The Crystals at the Center of the Earth:

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posted on May, 12 2010 @ 01:05 PM

Seismic waves traveling between Earth’s poles move faster than those moving east-west, and now scientists think they may know why.

The iron alloys in the solid inner core of the Earth appear to have crystallized in such a way that it’s easier for energy to pass on the north-south axis than on the east-west, as described in a new study led by Maurizio Mattesini, a geologist at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, which appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “The structure of the atoms looks different in one direction than the other,” explained Norm Sleep, a Stanford geologist who was not part of the new study.

In the textbooks of yore, the Earth’s inner regions like the mantle and core were presented as simple, fairly homogeneous regions. But the geology of the core is turning out to be much more complex as scientists make use of more and better seismographs to generate better data about how seismic waves travel through the planet. The outer core is composed mostly of liquid iron. The inner core is solid ball about 750 miles in diameter, or a little less than the maximum width of the state of Texas, which formed as the Earth cooled over geologic time, said David Stephenson, a geologist at CalTech.
“The center of the earth is literally a crystal,” said Stephenson. Over time, it grew and now is no longer a single crystal but an aggregate of them.

In the mid-1990s, geologists began to notice an interesting thing. Seismic waves traveling north-south were reaching their destinations about 3 percent faster than waves moving along east-west paths. “It’s one of these things that’s been detected for some time but kind of why it occurs has been somewhat of a puzzle,” Sleep said. They didn’t know why, but then again, the middle of the globe is perhaps the most difficult place to gather data on Earth

The new paper suggests that as the crystals formed, they received a particular alignment. That alignment, known as anisotropy, makes it easier for waves to travel in one direction than the other. The most significant thing about the new paper, Stephenson said, is that the researchers were able to match up the results that seismologists have been getting on the speed of seismic waves through the core with new laboratory tests with particular kinds of iron crystals.


I find this all fascinating but just can't believe the whole theory yet. I dont' see how ice can form when surrounded by molten rock. Very complex planet indeed.
Just makes me believe there has to be something greater than ourselves to have all of this to happen (the universe). Well, there you have it. I thought it was interesting and I hope you do also. Looking forward to any pros input.

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 01:08 PM
did they say ice or did they say Crystal? I'm 100% sure there is no ice (frozen water) in the middle of the earth. As for crystals... that would be the first I heard of any but mind boggling interesting either way. Good post!

[edit on 12-5-2010 by Vicious Jones]

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 01:16 PM
I think what they're saying is the iron formed a crystal structure when cooled under that much pressure. All these crystals formed in a certain direction, causing the seismic waves to travel faster in one direction than the other.

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 01:19 PM
Check this out. I am not sure of it's the same thing, but cool none the less.

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 03:09 PM
reply to post by Vicious Jones

You're correct. I was thinking Ice Crystals. Not awake I guess.

Thanks for noticing.

This has to be one big freaking crystal then. I won't if all planets (maybe moons) would be like this?

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 03:36 PM
reply to post by network dude

I believe that the overall crystal structure of iron would direct where seismic waves go. The waves would hit the crystal along the plain of cleavage, coupled with the rotation of the core the odds of sustained waves hitting the crystal structure in the right place are rather good.

I love crystals, I've studied them for some time. It's one of my biggest interests. The potential of crystalline structures has yet to be fully exploited, we don't even really know all of their properties as there are thousands of crystalline minerals all with different structures and uses.

Great thread, S & F.

[edit on 12-5-2010 by projectvxn]

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 03:51 PM
reply to post by anon72

The earth's core is most likely hollow as gravity and centripetal force push matter outwards.

Scientist assume the earth must have a solid core because their ridiculous models of the earth's magnetic field assume a "dynamo" action of iron inside the earth. - a totally ridiculous and unfounded theory to say the least.

And no, I don't subscribe to crank theories that say civilizations are living inside the earth.

The most likely explanation is of earth's interior is given here:

A hollow core with a mantel that decreases in density as it approaches the core.

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 03:53 PM
reply to post by mnemeth1

Wow, thank you. I never heard that before.

I don't have time to look at your link now but I will later.

Thanks again.

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 03:53 PM
reply to post by mnemeth1


hit enter twice. Sorry.

[edit on 5/12/2010 by anon72]

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 03:59 PM
reply to post by anon72

I find this all fascinating but just can't believe the whole theory yet.

I'm not particularly sold on it either. Cold dust doesn't just bump together and stick together to form stars and planets. I'm not sure why astrophysicists are dismissing the electric aspect of the universe. From what I can tell, it's more probable that the Earth's core is a plasma which would behave seismically similar to a solid iron core.

Anyone can perform a simple experiment here on Earth to debunk current planetary formation. Take two rocks, smash them together. They don't stick together. OK, now have an astronaut do it during a space walk. still doesn't happen. We even see asteroids collide once in awhile, not even they stick together to form these supposed large clumps of planetary masses. They collide and break apart or bounce away from each other in opposite directions.

Current physics is just a tad bit backwards going in my opinion.

Nonetheless, excellent article and I enjoyed reading it regardless of not agreeing with it's assumptions.

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 04:07 PM
reply to post by projectvxn

on a side bar, did you ever get to join the USMC?
Here is the article in National Geographic about the giant crystals. Amazing doesn't seem to be a word that would do it justice.

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 04:10 PM
Here is another possibility of whats at the Earth s core :

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 05:48 PM
reply to post by network dude

I didn't, something better came up.

Thanks for the link.

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 05:56 PM
Even the alignment of geomagnetic crystals in magma can line up with the Earth's magnetic forces at the time they cool, and scientists can gather information as to those forces, even for volcanic rock hundreds of years old.

This is a cool topic. If only we knew as much as we thought we did.

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 07:39 PM
Great responses folks. I wish we knew more too.

I will never forget, when I was younger, watching Journey to the Center of the Earth. Ever since then ....

My fear is someday they will come up with some way to find out what is really in the middle and... muck it up somehow and end up causing serious damage.

I know, crazy, but 100 years from now?

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