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Name: kathleen n mecham
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Date: 1999

How hot is the Earth's core, approximately, and how can it be measured?

There is no way to measure the temperature at the Earth's core directly. We know from mines and drill holes that, near the surface of the Earth, the temperature increases by about 1 degree Fahrenheit for every 60 feet in depth. If this temperature increase continued to the center of the Earth, the Earth's core would be 100,000 degrees Celsius!

But nobody believes the Earth is that hot; the temperature increase must slow down with depth and the core is probably about 3000 to 5000 degrees Celsius.

This estimate of the temperature is derived from theoretical modeling and laboratory experiments. This work is very difficult (and speculative) since nobody can reproduce in a laboratory the high temperatures and pressures that exist in the core. Also it is not known exactly what the core is made of.


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