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Core processes describe the transfer of heat and material between the Earth’s solid inner core and molten outer core and the exchange of heat across the core-mantle boundary, as well as the convection in the outer core that generates the geomagnetic field.
Diamonds precipitate from methane under the intense pressures of the atmospheres of Neptune and Uranus. Here, a laser shock experiment on a hydrocarbon sample shows that diamonds may require ten times as much pressure to precipitate as was previously thought.
The existence of a mushy zone in the Earth’s inner core has been suggested, but has remained unproven. Here, the authors have discovered a 4–8 km thick mushy zone at the inner core boundary beneath the Okhotsk Sea, indicating that there may be more localized mushy zones at the inner core boundary.
The detection of Earth’s anti neutrino emission from potassium and the mantle remain elusive. Here the authors propose a method for measuring potassium and mantle geo-neutrinos by detecting their elastic scattering on electrons with direction-sensitive detectors.
Rapid and spatially localized geomagnetic field variations around 1000 BC are hard to reconcile with expected field behaviour arising from the core dynamo. Here, the authors show that the intensity spike is consistent with an intense flux patch on the core-mantle boundary (8–22°) located under Saudi Arabia.
Hidden under many kilometres of silicate mantle material, the cores of Earth and other planets are hard to investigate. The Psyche spacecraft, designed to visit a metal body that may be a core stripped of its mantle, could bring a close-up view.
Variability of iron isotopes among planetary bodies may reflect their accretion or differentiation histories. Experiments suggest nickel may be the ingredient controlling iron isotope signatures, supporting fractionation during core formation.
There is potential evidence for a stratified layer at the top of the Earth's core, but its origin is not well understood. Laboratory experiments suggest that the stratified layer could be a sunken remnant of the giant impact that formed the Moon.
Pinpointing when Earth's core formed depends on the extent of metal–silicate equilibration in the mantle. Vaporization and recondensation of impacting planetesimal cores during accretion may reconcile disparate lines of evidence.