even at temps equivalent to the sun's surface.
New theory explains how Earth's inner core remains solid despite extreme heat
Even though it is hotter than the surface of the Sun, the crystallized iron core of the Earth remains solid. A new study from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden may finally settle a longstanding debate over how that's possible, as well as why seismic waves travel at higher speeds between the planet's poles than through the equator.
Spinning within Earth's molten core is a crystal ball – actually a mass formation of almost pure crystallized iron – nearly the size of the moon. Understanding this strange, unobservable feature of our planet depends on knowing the atomic structure of these crystals – something scientists have been trying to do for years.
As with all metals, the atomic-scale crystal structures of iron change depending on the temperature and pressure the metal is exposed to. Atoms are packed into variations of cubic, as well as hexagonal formations. At room temperatures and normal atmospheric pressure, iron is in what is known as a body-centered cubic (BCC) phase, which is a crystal architecture with eight corner points and a center point. But at extremely high pressure the crystalline structures transform into 12-point hexagonal forms, or a close packed (HCP) phase.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-02-theory-earth-core-solid-extreme.html#jCp