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E Prime Layer

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: astrobiology     

 Context: A study led by an international team, including researchers from Arizona State University, has unveiled a link between Earth’s surface and its core, indicating that surface water has penetrated deep into the Earth, forming a distinct layer known as the E prime layer.

 

What is an E-Prime Layer?

The E-Prime Layer is a distinct layer at the outermost part of Earth’s core, formed by surface water penetrating deep into the planet over billions of years. This layer is characterized by a hydrogen-rich, silicon-depleted composition, influenced by a chemical reaction with the core’s silicon at the core-mantle boundary.

 

Previous Belief: Previously it was believed that a minimal material exchange between the core and mantle,

New findings suggest that tectonic plates have transported surface water around 1,800 miles below the surface to the core-mantle boundary. The water undergoes a chemical reaction with the core’s silicon, forming silica and creating a hydrogen-rich, silicon-depleted layer at the outer core.

Significance: This discovery has significant implications for understanding Earth’s internal processes, magnetic field, heat generation, and plate tectonics.

 

Earth’s Layers Discontinuities

 

Crust Mohorovičić Discontinuity (Moho)
Mantle (Upper) Repetti Discontinuity
Mantle (Transition) Lehmann Discontinuity
Mantle (Lower) Gutenberg Discontinuity
Outer Core Lehmann Discontinuity (at the core-mantle boundary)
Inner Core Bullen Discontinuity (at the inner core boundary)