Japanese scientists believe they have established the identity of a “missing element” within the Earth’s core. They have been searching for the element for decades, believing it makes up a significant proportion of our planet’s centre, after iron and nickel.
Now by recreating the high temperatures and pressures found in the deep interior, experiments suggest the most likely candidate is silicon.
The discovery could help us to better understand how our world formed. Lead researcher Eiji Ohtani from the University of Tokyo told BBC News: “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.”(BBC,2017)