General Question

Lost_World's avatar

How much light is there at the centre of the earth?

Asked by Lost_World (1231points) April 2nd, 2008

Me and my friends were debating as to what the light would be like at the centre of their earth, would it be dark? Or bright?

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9 Answers

gorillapaws's avatar

The core of the earth is molten iron I believe so whatever that looks like surrounded by liquid rock would be it.

soundedfury's avatar

At the center of the earth it would be incredibly dark. The inner core is solid iron nickel-iron alloy, although there are suggestions that other metals can be found in small amounts at the exact center of the inner core (gold, platinum, uranium and lead being the prime candidates). It’s is also incredibly hot – estimated at around 5500° C – but is kept solid by the pressure of the rest of the earth above it. The melting point of the alloy is much, much higher at those intense pressures, keeping it solid despite the intense heat.

If you move to the outer core, you’d find a liquid mass of metal that likely glows a bright yellow color.

gorillapaws's avatar

I was on the right track at least, nice answer soundedfury.

Thesilvertiger's avatar

0 percent light

amanthei's avatar

as suhrawardi tells us, all things are Light.

robmandu's avatar

@fury, curious… wouldn’t the solid metal core still glow because of the heat?

Just guessing b/c steel glows red and orange hot even when still solid.

soundedfury's avatar

My understanding is that it shouldn’t even be glowing. The pressure of the earth above is acting as a counter against the excitement of the molecules within the alloy as it tries to become a liquid. At the center, the pressure is believed to be so great that it would prevent that excitement, and without that excitement there would be no glow.

When steel (or other metals) begin to glow, they are beginning to melt and are in a pliable state. The inner core shouldn’t even be pliable. I can’t find the exact melting point of nickel and iron at 330+ GPa, but I remember it being significantly higher than the 5000° C – 6000° C expected.

All of this is highly theoretical. The existence of a solid inner core and liquid outer core are measured indirectly during earthquakes, and the temperatures and pressures are computed based on models. There is no way for us to directly measure it.

garythompson's avatar

There are some people that believe in a hollow earth theory and that there is a small sun inside the center of the earth.

mushisquishi's avatar

isn’t that where the liquid hot magma is? in that case, i imagine it’s glowing bright orange!

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