Scientists struggle with Earth's solid inner core

by Julie Borg/WORLD, posted Friday, March 23, 2018 (29 days ago)
Tags: Science

ASHEVILLE (BP) -- If naturalistic theories are correct, Earth's solid inner core shouldn't exist, according to a new research paper in Earth and Planetary Science Letters journal.

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Current theory says Earth's center consisted of a ball of hot liquid iron 4,200 miles wide until about a billion years ago when the molten metal spontaneously began to solidify. Now, Case Western Reserve University planetary scientists say spontaneous solidification of the core is scientifically impossible.

Andrew Snelling, a geologist with Answers in Genesis, said secular scientists struggle to find plausible theories for how Earth's inner core formed because they base their assumptions on a naturalistic viewpoint that rules out the supernatural explanation the Bible gives for Earth's origin.

Spontaneous crystallization of pure molten metal would require a massive drop in temperature. Under the conditions of Earth's core, the iron would need to cool 1,000 Kelvins, or 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, below its melting point.

"And that's a lot of cooling, especially since at the moment, the scientific community thinks the Earth cools maybe about 100 degrees Kelvin per billion years," researcher Steven Hauck told Live Science.

At that rate of cooling, Earth's core could not have spontaneously solidified about a billion years ago without the involvement of some other factor. The researchers offered one possible theory: Perhaps a massive nugget of solid metal dropped from the Earth's mantle into the liquid core and cooled the molten iron like an ice cube dropping into a glass of water. But, the scientists admitted, that explanation seems unlikely since it would require an absurdly large nugget, one with a 6-mile radius or about the size of a large city.

Earth's mantle doesn't contain large enough metal deposits to make that feasible. A smaller nugget would lack the weight necessary to make it fall from the mantle, and even if it did it would disintegrate before it reached the core.

Genesis doesn't provide all the details so we can only infer, Snelling said, but the Biblical account states water covered the Earth before dry land appeared. That means the rocks had to lift up from the waters, implying that somewhere between the initial creation and the emergence of land, God formed the internal constitution of the Earth.

"It makes sense that God would have formed Earth's inner core right away because everything else necessary for life flows from that," Snelling said. "The core is very important to the Earth's magnetic field, which encompasses the planet and acts as a shield of protection."

Julie Borg writes for WORLD Digital, a division of WORLD Magazine (www.worldmag.com) based in Asheville, N.C. Used by permission.
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