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Earth’s E Prime Layer

Why is it in the news?

  • An international team of researchers, including scientists from Arizona State University, has revealed the existence of the E-Prime Layer. This layer is located at the outermost part of Earth’s core and has unique characteristics.


More about the news

  • The E-Prime Layer is formed over billions of years due to surface water penetrating deep into the Earth.
  • It has a distinctive composition characterized by being hydrogen-rich and silicon-depleted. The composition is a result of a chemical reaction with the silicon present at the core-mantle boundary.
  • Prior to this discovery, it was widely believed that there was minimal material exchange between the Earth’s core and mantle.
  • The new findings challenge this belief, indicating that tectonic plates have transported surface water to the core-mantle boundary, around 1,800 miles below the Earth’s surface. At this boundary, a chemical reaction with the core’s silicon occurs, resulting in the formation of silica and the creation of the E-Prime Layer.


Significance of Discovery

  • Implications for various Earth processes: It impacts seismic observations, potentially altering the way seismic waves travel through the Earth. It also has consequences for the global water cycle, as it involves the movement and interaction of water deep within the Earth’s interior.
  • Understanding Earth’s Interior: This discovery sheds light on the complex interactions between Earth’s surface and its deep interior. It contributes to our understanding of Earth’s internal processes, including the generation of the magnetic field.
  • Protection from Solar Winds and Radiation: Earth’s magnetic field, generated by the outer core, acts as a protective shield, safeguarding the planet from the harmful effects of solar winds and radiation from space.


Earth’s LayerDiscontinuity
CrustMohorovičić Discontinuity (Moho)
Mantle (Upper)Repetti Discontinuity
Mantle (Transition)Lehmann Discontinuity
Mantle (Lower)Gutenberg Discontinuity
Outer CoreLehmann Discontinuity (at the core-mantle boundary)
Inner CoreBullen Discontinuity (at the inner core boundary)

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