Crystal structure of iron at the center of the Earth

Shigehiko Tateno

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The inner core, most remote part of our planet, is composed of solid iron. Because the relevant ultrahigh pressure and temperature conditions were only accessible by dynamical shock-wave compression experiments, the crystal structure of iron at the inner core has long been under debate. Our first static experiments show that the hexagonal close-packed (hcp) structure is a stable form of iron up to 377 GPa and 5700 K, corresponding to inner core conditions. The observed weak temperature-dependence of the c/a axial ratio suggests that hcp-Fe is elastically anisotropic at core temperatures. Preferred orientation of the hcp phase may cause inner core seismic anisotropy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-97
Number of pages7
JournalReview of High Pressure Science and Technology/Koatsuryoku No Kagaku To Gijutsu
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Core
  • Diamond-anvil cell
  • Iron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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