Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Carbon in Earth's core



[1] The Earth's dense core consists primarily of iron, but seismological data and mineral physics results show that the inner core is lighter than pure iron by 3–7% and the outer core is lighter than pure iron by 5–10%. Therefore, the core must also contain some lighter element. One possible light element is carbon, which readily forms alloys with iron and is abundant in the universe. Geochemical studies also suggest that carbon is present, but it is uncertain how much carbon is in the core or what form it is in. (Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth, doi:10.1029/2010JB007819, 2011)