Scientists from Japan have been searching for the ‘missing element’ in Earth’s core for almost 20 years, it is believed that after nickel and iron this missing element makes a significant proportion of Earth.
The inner core of Earth has a radius of about 1,200km (745 miles) and is thought to be a solid sphere.
Japanese scientists recreated the extremely high pressures and temperatures found in the deep inner core, they have said that the experiments suggest that this missing element could be silicon. This discovery could expand our
knowledge and understanding of the formation of the world.
Eiji Ohtani, the lead researcher from Tohoku University told media: “We believe that silicon is a major element – about 5% [of the Earth’s inner core] by weight could be silicon dissolved into the iron-nickel alloys.”
Since it is too deep to research directly so the scientists discover the make-up of the inner core by studying the behaviour of seismic waves that pass through this region.
Almost 85% of Earth’s core is composed of Iron and 10% is nickel, the rest of 5% is unaccounted for, to find out the team of Japanese scientists mixed silicon with alloys of iron and nickel that they had created.
Then they recreated the atmosphere of the inner core and subjected them to extreme temperatures and pressures. This mixture matched seismic data gathered from the inner Core of the Earth.
However, the possibility of the presence of materials other than silicone has not been excluded and more research is required before final conclusions, according to Prof. Eiji Ohtani.