Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Temperature of the Earth's core
Name: kathleen n mecham
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999


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


Replies:
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.

-Grant



Click here to return to the General Topics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory