At the core of the Earth was half the carbon than previously thought. This conclusion was made by scientists from Harvard University, who compiled a model of the distribution of carbon between the metal and silicate phases under conditions of core formation. Their study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Carbon concentration affects, for example, the dynamics of the mantle and the melting of magma. Its redistribution between the main components of magma, metal, and silicate, allows us to determine how the delivery and carbon loss processes worked after the formation of our planet – to find out, scientists make models for the distribution of this substance.
In a new work, the researchers compiled a model for the distribution of carbon between the metal and silicate phases under conditions of core formation. To do this, they mixed powders of olivine, iron, nickel and graphite, and then, using heating, subjected them to pressure in 582 atmospheres at a temperature of about 5.2 thousand degrees Kelvin.
Then the scientists analyzed similar experiments carried out at other temperatures and pressures and determined the distribution of carbon between the phases depending on temperature, pressure, degree of polymerization of silicate and the content of sulfur and oxygen.
Simulations have shown that the Earth’s core contains between 78% and 89% of all carbon on Earth — less than previously thought.