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Low viscosity of the Earth's inner core
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Physics, Condensed Matter Theory.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7531-3210
Ningbo Univ, Dept Phys, Fac Sci, Ningbo 315211, Zhejiang, Peoples R China..
Natl Acad Sci Ukraine, Inst Condensed Matter Phys, UA-79011 Lvov, Ukraine..
Linkoping Univ, Dept Phys Chem & Biol IFM, SE-58183 Linkoping, Sweden..
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2019 (English)In: Nature Communications, ISSN 2041-1723, E-ISSN 2041-1723, Vol. 10, article id 2483Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Earth's solid inner core is a highly attenuating medium. It consists mainly of iron. The high attenuation of sound wave propagation in the inner core is at odds with the widely accepted paradigm of hexagonal close-packed phase stability under inner core conditions, because sound waves propagate through the hexagonal iron without energy dissipation. Here we show by first-principles molecular dynamics that the body-centered cubic phase of iron, recently demonstrated to be thermodynamically stable under the inner core conditions, is considerably less elastic than the hexagonal phase. Being a crystalline phase, the body-centered cubic phase of iron possesses the viscosity close to that of a liquid iron. The high attenuation of sound in the inner core is due to the unique diffusion characteristic of the body-centered cubic phase. The low viscosity of iron in the inner core enables the convection and resolves a number of controversies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nature Publishing Group, 2019. Vol. 10, article id 2483
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Physical Chemistry
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URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-254078DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-10346-2ISI: 000470248100015PubMedID: 31171778Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85067008955OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-254078DiVA, id: diva2:1330380
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QC 20190625

Available from: 2019-06-25 Created: 2019-06-25 Last updated: 2019-06-25Bibliographically approved

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Belonoshko, Anatoly

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