The third major missing element that makes up the Earth’s core has been discovered to be Silicon.
The research for third element has been happening for several years and the findings have suggested that Earth’s inner core is made up of silicon. This discovery is based on the studies that recreated high temperature and pressure within the core of the Earth.
The Earth’s core lies about 3000km below the surface. Since it is deep the inner core was found to be difficult to test directly. Then, Japanese researchers found it to be Silicon based on its behaviour. The element seemed to have immense pressures and high temperatures. They arrived to conclusion that this mixture matched was seen in the Earth’s interior with seismic data.
Observing on the research, Prof Simon Redfern from the University of Cambridge, UK, said: “These difficult experiments are really exciting because they can provide a window into what Earth’s interior was like soon after it first formed, 4.5 billion years ago, when the core first started to separate from the rocky parts of Earth.
The composition of Earth’s core is:
- Iron – 85%
- Nickel – 10%
- Silicon – 5%
Silicon and its Nature-
Silicon is hard and brittle crystal with blue-grey metallic glow. Silicon is the eight most common elements in the Universe by mass but very rarely occurs as the pure element in the Earth’s crust. It is widely distributed in sands, dusts, planetoids, and planets in various forms of silicon. Nearly 90% of the Earth’s crust is made of silicate minerals.
Pure silicon is too reactive to be found in nature, but it is found in practically all rocks as well as in sand, clays, and soils, combined either with oxygen as silica like silicon dioxide or with oxygen and other elements like aluminium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, or iron as silicates. The oxidized form, as silicon dioxide and particularly as silicates, is also common in Earth’s crust and is an important component of Earth’s mantle.
Silicon that is utilized for commercial purpose is used without being separated. The main uses of this kind of silicon are found with construction industries such as clays, silica sand, and stone. On the other hand elemental silicon has greater impact on modern world economy. Silicon is used in steel refining industry, chemical industries and in aluminium casting. Highly purified silicon is used in relatively small portion for the use of semiconductor electronics, which is linked to computers, cell phones, and modern technology.
Silicon is not only the second most common rock solid element in the galaxy but the oxide it forms is very light. Silicon is a basic component in rock forming minerals: quartz, feldspar hornblende and other silicates. Silicon is common throughout the entire earth. All of the inner planets Mercury, Venus, Earth appear to have silicon in abundance.
Countries like China, Russia, Norway and Brazil have the major production of the Silicon minerals in the world.