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Author Topic: Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?  (Read 21566 times)

Offline Dogboy

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from what I have read it seems that the earth core should be a contained ball of plasma.  is this a possability?
« Last Edit: 28/04/2008 10:48:37 by BenV »


 

Offline JimBob

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Re: Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #1 on: 14/03/2008 00:33:30 »
We need physicist to definitively answerer this. I doubt that a plasma is possible due to the high confining pressure and I have seen nothing in the literature to suggest that seismic waves traveling through the core react as if they passed through a plasma, only a solid. But I will let a couple of the FIZIKERS on the forum know the subject is here.

« Last Edit: 14/03/2008 00:39:42 by JimBob »
 

Offline Bass

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Re: Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #2 on: 14/03/2008 01:16:22 »
The mass of the earth, the existence of iron-nickel meteorites, the magnetic field, the spin of the earth, and seismic wave travel times all suggest that the earth's core is composed of an inner solid iron-nickel core surrounded by an outer liquid core.  Recent research suggests that the core spins at a slightly different rate than the planet as a whole.
 

Offline Dogboy

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Re: Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #3 on: 14/03/2008 02:24:39 »
if the plasma core was in fact held stable by the fact that intense pressure doesn't allow the free molecules to travel (maybe even subatomic particles) it would give a reading of being solid.  magnetic fields are mysterious to us from all that I have read, but I believe it could be explained by neutrinos (or whatever subatomic particle we haven't named yet)

the main thing that brings up confusion to me is that when I look at all the physics of magma becoming lava then escaping to the surface is that is goes against certain many things too numerous to include here.  It would seem that the core is not only of great mass but under constant outward pressure.  A solid core indicates that there is inward pressure that should build to a point of explosion.  A near solid plasma core would give all the same readins as a solid core but provide with better explanations to the way the thermodynamics and fluids behave.

sorry so verbose... grin
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #4 on: 14/03/2008 06:53:00 »
"the main thing that brings up confusion to me is that when I look at all the physics of magma becoming lava then escaping to the surface is that is goes against certain many things too numerous to include here."
Name one.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #5 on: 15/03/2008 08:30:00 »
Here's an article that puts this theory in the context of planetary expansion (which is what the site is about):-

http://www.wincom.net/earthexp/n/owen.htm

I don't have time at the moment to read it thoroughly, but I shall try to do so later.

Jim or Bass - have you come across "Expanded Earth" theories before? If so, what are your views (maybe a new thread?)
« Last Edit: 15/03/2008 08:51:20 by DoctorBeaver »
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Re: Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #6 on: 15/03/2008 10:08:00 »
It depends a bit what you mean by plasma. If you mean a fluid core that conducts electricity it most definitely has.  If you mean compressed gas with a similar composition to a star it most definitely has not for several reasons.  I will list them.

Firstly, considering the accretion processes that lead to stars and planets to produce sufficient gravity to hold light gases together you need a great deal of mass.  At least as much as a planet like Jupiter or Saturn.

Also the accretion process tends to produce differentiation in which the heavier elements like iron and silicon tend to sink to the centre.  The large amount of heat generated by the accretion process will also tend to melt the protoplanets to help this differentiation process.  It is simply not logical that a core of highly compressed gas could form.

The overall mass and density of the earth is well known. and is totally consistent with this expected structure.  Seismic wave propagation show the liquid core and possibly the solid inner core and this is consistent with the properties of materials measured in laboratories.

There have always been people about who put forward outrageous theories that contradict current accepted models and it can be a way to gain a certain degree of notoriety and money particularly if the theories have other attractive properties  (look up Immanuel Velitovsky's books in the 1950's)  The growth of the internet has greatly expanded the ability of a person to gain publicity in this way.  Occasionally these theories may cast light on current thinking but most often they are not useful and just waste genuine scientist's time and effort contradicting them in precise detail.
 

Offline JimBob

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Re: Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #7 on: 15/03/2008 18:24:09 »
But isn't the fluid core the outer core not the core at the center of the earth? Gas Plasma isn't the answer.

The expanding earth theory has been around since the 1960s to counter the new evidence being discovered for continetal drift. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expanding_earth_theory
 

Also, The theory of a plasma core has been around since 1979 as the raging debate over the theory of continental drift was beginning to die down. It seems, looking at the material Dr. B. introduced above, that this was a theory postulated to counter continental drift.

Just a few of the objections I have to this theory of an expanding earth due to a plasma core:

1.) It is nearly a 2:1 increase in the size of the earth required to accomplish the present continental configuration. Where did all of this material come from? A much more dense earth would prevent, not allow plasma expansion.

2.) The theory starts off with an earth without oceans. Did we suddenly get bombarded with water out of the celestial ether to create the vast amount of water in the oceans?

3.) India is always attached to Asia in the expanding earth theory, but the Himalayas are composed of rocks deposited in an ocean environment - limestones with corals, sea shells of gastropods, mollusks and many other sea creatures.

4.) The dominant theory to explain most of the events in the plasma theory as presented by http://www.wincom.net/earthexp/n/owen.htm is catastrophism. All of this happened in a few thousand years as the result of a meteor impact creating the Pacific Ocean. The rest of whet was there became th moon.

No, this just doesn't work. Neither does the theory as summarized on the Wikipeidia page.

And the beginning of this theory as suggested in the site Eth mentioned, is the impact of a huge meteor that caused the moon to separate from the earth. That happened 4.5 billion years ago. Why would it not be until 250 Million years ago that the earth started to expand? where was the plasma all the rest of the time?

It just doesn't make sense.

I am sure Soul Surfer could come up with a multitude of other arguments based on plasma theory but that would most likely be a waste of time.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #8 on: 15/03/2008 20:36:10 »
Ian & Jim - thank you both.

I hadn't heard of the expanded Earth theories before and I can read that site now with a better understanding.
 

Offline JazzRoc

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Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #9 on: 06/05/2008 21:10:43 »
Pardon me, but I thought that the Earth's core just had (capitalise this!) to be plasma. That is, an unliquidifiable and unsolidifiable gas-like material mixture of iron, nickel, and many other heavy metals possessing a considerable density, a magnetic field, and just nowhere to go, as a consequence of the incredible pressure of lighter metal mixtures and magma floating over it. The surface of the Sun illuminates us, does it not, with a surface temperature (6,000 deg C) no different from that of the Earth's centre?
I must confess to being intrigued by the theory of the expansion of planetary bodies (not just the Earth) but I think (or hope!) that that is the consequence of our innate tendency to "line things up and ignore the details".
Someone please correct me if I appear to be wrong...
 

Offline Supercryptid

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Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #10 on: 07/05/2008 02:31:24 »
With a boiling point of 5,182 °F, you might expect iron to be a hot gas at the temperature of the Earth's core (over 12,000 °F, by one estimate). However, iron gas at atmospheric pressure has a very low density (around 0.0025 g/cc, if you use the ideal gas law). Less dense materials tend to be located in the upper layers of the Earth, whereas more dense materials tend to be deeper (this is pretty logical, as you can see helium balloons rise higher in the more dense air around them). Therefore, low-density iron gas at the Earth's core makes little sense.

On the other hand, you could increase iron vapor's density by increasing the pressure. To get iron vapor up to the density of solid iron (7.874 g/cc), you'd need to increase the pressure to around 3,150 times atmospheric pressure. The pressure at Earth's core is thought to be much higher than this, actually. However, do you know what happens when you compress a gas like this? It wants to expand. Alot. Somehow, the upper layers of the Earth would have to keep this high-pressure core from exploding. Gravity would help, but I suspect that it would be little help in this case (gravity keeps the Sun from exploding, mind you, but it has far more mass and much more gravity than the Earth does).

I think the idea is that the tremendous pressure in the Earth's core actually raises the melting point of iron so that it stays solid even though it is so hot. I don't know any equations that correlate melting point with pressure, but it seems plausible.

I also think there was some kind of experiment using pressure waves to determine that the Earth's core was solid, although I cannot recall the details.
 

Offline JimBob

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Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #11 on: 07/05/2008 04:17:17 »
There has been some experimental work on crystal system phase changes I know that suggest pressure increases melting point but none that I know of no experimental data gathered on elemental phase change with respect to pressure.
 

Offline daveshorts

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Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #12 on: 12/05/2008 11:29:03 »
There has been a lot of work done by putting materials in a diamond anvil, squashing them to tremendous pressures, heating them and seeing what happens.

For just about everything apart from ice at normal pressures the melting point is increased as you increase the pressure - most things expand on melting and definitely boiling, so increased pressure tends to stabilise the denser form. Considering the pressure at the centre of the earth, it is certainly not a gas or a plasma.
 

Offline JimBob

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Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #13 on: 12/05/2008 15:16:34 »
There has been a lot of work done by putting materials in a diamond anvil, squashing them to tremendous pressures, heating them and seeing what happens.

For just about everything apart from ice at normal pressures the melting point is increased as you increase the pressure - most things expand on melting and definitely boiling, so increased pressure tends to stabilise the denser form. Considering the pressure at the centre of the earth, it is certainly not a gas or a plasma.

I know a guy in grad school who did this for his dissertation. (we didn't have diamond forges back then, just a couple of 20 pound glorified sledge hammers). We thought he was nuts.

Come to think of it, most experimental petrologist are slightly off.
 

Offline coldarc

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Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #14 on: 21/08/2010 14:36:07 »
from what I have read it seems that the earth core should be a contained ball of plasma.  is this a possability?

i think earth core is not hot, but rather cold. i know the way gravity can
have such a downward pull on a mass. if gravity is caused only by subatomic particles they would fly apart. so gravity must be a field
or many fields composed of large quantities of electrons in one field
protons in another, even a neutron field. since these particle fields are not static but dynamic they can exhange energy as a waves but not as particles. as particles they only act as fields. so you might wonder what
this has to do with a plasma core of earth. well in order for a gravitational field of earth to exist, the subatomic particles have to form dynamic fields standigwave particle fields toghter in a state of plasma. this plasma have to be cold in order for the giant standingwaves
to exist, because heat would destroy the symmetry of the fields that has to be indentical to the subatomic particles fields or field waves.
the energy of gravity is contained within the field, where the only supply of energy comes from the sun trought the subatomic paticles
wave structure, and the earths gravity as a standingwave.
electromagnetic waves emits from the wave structure of subatomic particles. when some of the cold plasma escape the core of the field
of gravity this plasma discharge and heats up. this plasma contain
the building blocks of known elements. the heat cause implosion
of gases into solids. the pessure inside the planet increases when
the internal energy increases. that is what causes expansion.
if this explanation is not good enough, i advice yo stick to the
convetional textbook explenation.
 

Offline katesisco

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Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #15 on: 05/02/2011 19:46:37 »
thanks coldarc.  Read Conquest of Cold, Zero Kelvin and chasing zero kelvin -273 C led to the 'tunneling microscope' Is Helium III cooled to almost zero kelvin, and surprisingly has crystal structure with 3 axis.  Everything changes at 0 K.  you may think this is odd but got a japanese cartoon dvd (Steam Boy) and the idea was that super hot morphs into super cold.  A standing wave is just another way to describe phonons ordering synchronized behavior in atoms?  The heat is disorder, the 2nd Law?  Gravity is just an aspect of matter, not a force? 
Having trouble envisioning heat implosion.  But am supporter of S W Carey expanding Earth. 
consider:  deep mines have much greater heat than projected, so maybe earth is a fractal of the sun, itself a fractal of the universe.  The sun's surface is an electrical phenomena, and perhaps just skin deep?  Applying to to Earth, mantle MOHO may be hottest area? 
 

Offline Geezer

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Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #16 on: 05/02/2011 23:36:18 »
Silly me. And here was I thinking the Earth's core is made of molten iron at 5700K.

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=36743.0
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
« Reply #17 on: 06/02/2011 10:01:21 »
thanks coldarc.  Read Conquest of Cold, Zero Kelvin and chasing zero kelvin -273 C led to the 'tunneling microscope' Is Helium III cooled to almost zero kelvin, and surprisingly has crystal structure with 3 axis.  Everything changes at 0 K.  you may think this is odd but got a japanese cartoon dvd (Steam Boy) and the idea was that super hot morphs into super cold.  A standing wave is just another way to describe phonons ordering synchronized behavior in atoms?  The heat is disorder, the 2nd Law?  Gravity is just an aspect of matter, not a force? 
Having trouble envisioning heat implosion.  But am supporter of S W Carey expanding Earth. 
consider:  deep mines have much greater heat than projected, so maybe earth is a fractal of the sun, itself a fractal of the universe.  The sun's surface is an electrical phenomena, and perhaps just skin deep?  Applying to to Earth, mantle MOHO may be hottest area? 
Pardon?
 

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Could the Earth's core be a contained ball of plasma?
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