The high conductivity of iron and thermal evolution of the Earth's core

Hitoshi Gomi, Kenji Ohta, Kei Hirose, Stéphane Labrosse, Razvan Caracas, Matthieu J. Verstraete, John W. Hernlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

152 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We measured the electrical resistivity of iron and iron-silicon alloy to 100. GPa. The resistivity of iron was also calculated to core pressures. Combined with the first geophysical model accounting for saturation resistivity of core metal, the present results show that the thermal conductivity of the outermost core is greater than 90. W/m/K. These values are significantly higher than conventional estimates, implying rapid secular core cooling, an inner core younger than 1. Ga, and ubiquitous melting of the lowermost mantle during the early Earth. An enhanced conductivity with depth suppresses convection in the deep core, such that its center may have been stably stratified prior to the onset of inner core crystallization. A present heat flow in excess of 10. TW is likely required to explain the observed dynamo characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-103
Number of pages16
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Volume224
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Earth core
thermal evolution
electrical resistivity
conductivity
inner core
iron
early Earth
thermal conductivity
heat flow
silicon
crystallization
melting
convection
saturation
mantle
cooling
metal
silicon alloys
iron alloys
heat transmission

Keywords

  • Core
  • Electrical resistivity
  • High pressure
  • Thermal conductivity
  • Thermal evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Gomi, H., Ohta, K., Hirose, K., Labrosse, S., Caracas, R., Verstraete, M. J., & Hernlund, J. W. (2013). The high conductivity of iron and thermal evolution of the Earth's core. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 224, 88-103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pepi.2013.07.010

The high conductivity of iron and thermal evolution of the Earth's core. / Gomi, Hitoshi; Ohta, Kenji; Hirose, Kei; Labrosse, Stéphane; Caracas, Razvan; Verstraete, Matthieu J.; Hernlund, John W.

In: Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, Vol. 224, 11.2013, p. 88-103.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gomi, H, Ohta, K, Hirose, K, Labrosse, S, Caracas, R, Verstraete, MJ & Hernlund, JW 2013, 'The high conductivity of iron and thermal evolution of the Earth's core', Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, vol. 224, pp. 88-103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pepi.2013.07.010
Gomi, Hitoshi ; Ohta, Kenji ; Hirose, Kei ; Labrosse, Stéphane ; Caracas, Razvan ; Verstraete, Matthieu J. ; Hernlund, John W. / The high conductivity of iron and thermal evolution of the Earth's core. In: Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 2013 ; Vol. 224. pp. 88-103.
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