Earth's Interior

Earth's interior is made up of a series of layers that sit below the surface crust. In order of depth, these layers include the solid, but flowing mantle, the liquid outer core and the solid iron outer core, which helps create Earth's protective magnetic field. The layers can also be categorized into the rigid outer lithosphere (which includes the crust and top portion of the mantle and makes up Earth's tectonic plates) and the athenosphere, the portion of the mantle that is solid, but made up of hot, weak, flowing rock. Read about the latest research on Earth's layers below.
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Latest Articles

Hot Superblobs at Earth's Core Feed Rivers of Molten Rock
A schematic showing a mantle plume and a volcano hotspot
September 2nd, 2015
Mantle plumes, proposed rivers of hot rock in the Earth's mantle that stream up to the surface and form volcanic island chains, seem to anchor deep in the planet's interior, near the core-mantle boundary.
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Quickly Rising Antarctica Suggests 'Runny' Earth
May 16th, 2014
Antarctica is rising much faster than expected, revealing that the hot rock of the mantle hundreds of miles below the icy continent is flowing much faster than expected, and so rebounding quickly to the loss of glacial ice, researchers say.
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Ancient Huts May Reveal Clues to Earth's Magnetic Pole Reversals
Grain Bins in Southern Africa
July 29th, 2015
The fiery demise of ancient huts in southern Africa 1,000 years ago left clues to understanding a bizarre weak spot in the Earth's magnetic field — and the role it plays in the magnetic poles' periodic reversals.
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Crashing Electrons Could Explain Earth's Magnetic Field Mystery
January 28th, 2015
New research claims to have solved a messy paradox that has plagued geoscientists who study Earth's core and its life-protecting magnetic field.
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Buried 'Soda Fizz' May Solve Mystery of Coasting Tectonic Plates
Plate tectonics
April 30th, 2014
New findings could help explain the motion of the giant tectonic plates that surf over Earth's mantle, the movements of which explain how the continents have drifted over time as well as disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
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Rare Diamond Reveals Earth's Interior is All Wet
ringwoodite diamond
March 12th, 2014
A battered diamond that survived a trip from "hell" confirms a long-held theory: Earth's mantle holds an ocean's worth of water.
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Earth's Mysteriously Light Core Contains Brimstone
Earth's Layers
June 18th, 2015
Researchers have found that the vast majority of brimstone — reverently referred to in biblical times as "burning stone," but now known more commonly as sulfur — dwells deep in the Earth's core.
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Gravity Moved Continents on Early Earth
The Eastern Hemisphere of Earth can be seen in this "blue marble" view captured by NASA's Suomi NPP satellite.
September 17th, 2014
Continents move, but what got them going? A new computer model shows it was gravity. Whole continents flattened out under their own weight.
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Missing Xenon Gas Found in Earth's Core
An illustration of Earth's layers, including the crust, mantle and core.
April 21st, 2014
Mysteriously, most of the expected levels of xenon are missing from Earth's atmosphere. Now, researchers might have the answer: The noble gas, which usually doesn't bond with other atoms, may chemically react with iron and nickel in Earth's core.
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