Japanese researchers have suggested that there is a significant amount of hydrogen in the core of our planet, which penetrated there as a result of meteorite strikes in the early days of the Earth. According to Nature Communications, if hydrogen had not been trapped in the core, the planet might have been a completely watery world, devoid of land.
Scientists are not yet able to look into the Earth’s core, so they are studying the planet’s interior only with the help of simulations. In order to determine the composition and density of the substance of the core, seismic data is used. As of today, the composition of the core is known to be dominated by iron, but the density of the matter was lower than previously thought.
“This indicates that the core consists not only of iron, but also of less heavy elements. We decided to test this with laboratory experiments in which we looked at the behavior of water in a system with metallic iron and silicate compounds. So we recreated the metal-silicate reactions that took place during the formation of the Earth”, – say the staff of the University of Tokyo.
Experiments have shown that when water interacts with iron at extreme pressure and temperature, most of the hydrogen from water dissolves into the molten metal and oxygen goes to silicates. That is, there may be tens of times more hydrogen in the Earth’s core than in the world’s oceans.