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New kind of metal in the deep Earth: Iron oxide undergoes transition under intense pressures and temperatures

The crushing pressures and intense temperatures in Earth’s deep interior squeeze atoms and electrons so closely together that they interact very differently. With depth materials change.Ferropericlase contains both magnesium and iron oxide.Compounds typically undergo structural, chemical, electronic, and other changes under these extremes. Contrary to previous thought, the iron oxide went from an insulating (non-electrical conducting) state to become a highly conducting metal at 690,000 atmospheres and 3000°F, but without a change to its structure.New results show, instead, that FeO metallizes without any change in structure and that combined temperature and pressure are required.”The results imply that iron oxide is conducting in the whole range of its stability in Earth’s lower mantle.” Earth’s magnetic field, which is generated in the outer core. It will change the way the magnetic field is propagated to Earth’s surface, because it provides magnetomechanical coupling between the Earth’s mantle and core.

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New kind of metal in the deep Earth: Iron oxide undergoes transition under intense pressures and temperatures