The structure of iron in earth's inner core

Shigehiko Tateno, Kei Hirose, Yasuo Ohishi, Yoshiyuki Tatsumi

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254 Citations (Scopus)


Earth's solid inner core is mainly composed of iron (Fe). Because the relevant ultrahigh pressure and temperature conditions are difficult to produce experimentally, the preferred crystal structure of Fe at the inner core remains uncertain. Static compression experiments showed that the hexagonal close-packed (hcp) structure of Fe is stable up to 377 gigapascals and 5700 kelvin, 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 explain previously observed inner core seismic anisotropy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-361
Number of pages3
Issue number6002
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Tateno, S., Hirose, K., Ohishi, Y., & Tatsumi, Y. (2010). The structure of iron in earth's inner core. Science, 330(6002), 359-361.